“I was once exposed to a different form of sexual harassment than the ones I usually faced when I was a little girl. He was standing across the street while I was walking to school, he unzipped his pants, showed me his genitalia thinking he’d seduce me to have sex with him. As a 16-year- old young girl, I didn’t understand what he wanted me to do. The only feeling I had back then was that I have to run, run fast!” said one victim of sexual harassment.
With a voice filled with strength, she further said: “But I had a utility knife and I swore,no one would ever force me into doing something I don’t want to.”
She was speaking at a workshop at the “Ard El-Share’” event, where she also provided coaching assistance to prevent such incidents from happening to other women.
“Ard El Share” is a campaign on the roots and routes of the infamous Egyptian phenomenon – sexual harassment. The event sought to reshape the core beliefs about the reasons behind the phenomenon, and celebrate the individuals who offered solutions and alternatives to solve this social crisis.
The two-day event was held by the International Model of European Union at Cairo University (imEU) and Frit Forum – Social Democratic Students of Denmark, at the Greek Campus. It aimed to create a platform where people who are interested in the issue can interact with each other, exchanging ideas and initiatives, in order to spread awareness on sexual harassments and the ways of fighting it.
The campaign believes that the only way to put an end to such a frightening phenomenon is by encouraging people walking in the streets to be the saviours and the guardians of every girl from any form of sexual harassment she might face.
Many individuals took part in the event to talk about their own experiences and their opinions regarding the topic. A martial arts trainer and a taekwondo coach gave attendees a session on self-defence in case anyone is attacked by a harasser.
Moreover, there were lectures and workshops discussing in detail the situations many girls face in their daily lives on the streets of Egypt. Musicians, such as Nubian music artist Rana El-Manadily, were also present and provided a much-needed entertainment segment.
“Harassmap”, “Ya fede7to” , “Bussy” and “the anti-harassment in Cairo University movement”, all participated at the event to speak about their role in fighting several kinds of harassment and the precautionary steps women can take.
“This event mainly targets youth and college students,” said Monica Ibrahim, Communications Manager for Harassmap. “We wanted to exchange the ideas on the reasons we reached this point in sexual harassment and where we’re heading from now on.”
“Harrasmap” is a volunteer-based initiative with a mission to engage Egyptian society to create an environment that does not tolerate sexual harassment. “Ya fede7to” is an online mobile application that provides reports about any cases of sexual harassment with the time and date. “Bussy” is a performing-arts group that provides uncensored spaces for women to share their personal experiences.