Nehad Abu Al-Qomsan, head of the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights (ECWR), announced the organisation’s solidarity and its readiness to follow the case of “Menna Gubran” who was recently approached by a harasser in one of the Fifth Settlement streets in New Cairo.
This came after the lawyer of the harasser announced that he had filed a lawsuit against Gubran, accusing her of defaming his client and claiming that he is a harasser.
Two weeks ago, Gubran published on Tuesday a video she captured, showing that she was standing in the street, as one of the men passing through stopped and “offered her a coffee.”
The video rapidly went viral on Facebook, receiving thousands of comments and shares. Some people attacked her for posting the video and documenting the event, accusing her of attracting attention over a “situation not worth the hassle,” while others, mostly women, supported her action.
Commenting on the validity of the lawsuit, Parliament Member Ahmed Saad said that the lawsuit against Gubran is void as the lawyer built his argument based on Article 25 of the new law, which is awaiting President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s ratification to be enforced.
Last year, Egypt’s Parliament approved a draft law pushing tougher penalties on sexual harassment. It imposed jail terms of one year instead of just six months. It also imposed fines of EGP 5,000 and no more than EGP 10,000 for those who are accused and found guilty of sexual harassment.
In the past weeks, several hashtags on social media spoke against harassment following the Fifth Settlement incident. Notably, there have been previous social media initiatives and awareness campaigns in Egypt that aimed to condemn sexual violence against women, demanding that the rule of law be applied, and encouraging women to speak up and create support networks.