Prison for Street Harasser in Egypt

Street harassment in Egypt is in the news a lot lately, and this week the BBC reports on yet another newsworthy street harassment story about a harasser who is receiving a prison sentence.

In June, Noha Rushdi Saleh was repeatedly groped and harassed by the defendant while she was walking down the street. Passers-by told her not to go to the police and some blamed her for provoking the attack [surely any woman would love to be groped while minding her own business in public]. She had to literally drag the man to the police station and initially the police refused to open an investigation. The man was found guilty recently and has been jailed for three years with hard labor and must pay 5,001 Egyptian pounds to Ms. Saleh for the attack.

The BBC reports: “The case was taken up by the Badeel opposition daily, which blamed Egypt’s oppressive government, and ‘the majority of citizens who identified with the oppressor’, and ‘decades of incitement against women’ in some mosques …”

“Egyptian women’s rights campaigners have praised the judge for handing down what is being seen as a harsh, exemplary sentence.”

The article also reports something I missed in the news:

“In an unusual development earlier in October, eight men were arrested in Cairo for allegedly taking part in a mob-style sexual attack on women pedestrians.

The attack, during the Eid holiday, was reminiscent of an incident in 2006 during the same holiday which marks the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

On both occasions, witnesses reported that police officers were present but did nothing to protect women who were violently groped and had some of their clothing torn off.”

Thoughts? Was a jail sentence too harsh? Not harsh enough? Just right? I’m glad Ms. Saleh had the courage to fight him, report him, and fight the police to eventually receive justice.

2 Responses to Prison for Street Harasser in Egypt

  1. Ingrid Veray says:

    Brave woman!!! Now I’m thinking about not letting my daughter go to study in Cairo…

  2. From what I can gather from news stories, street harassment in Cairo is not any worse than in any other major city. Your daughter’s school probably wouldn’t send students somewhere that is knowingly dangerous. I’ve never been to Egypt (though I’ve wanted to since 6th grade when we studied ancient Egypt in class) but one of my friends did last year (she was 24 years old) with 3 of her colleagues for a week and felt completely safe. One of her colleagues was male and many people assumed the three young women were his wife, so I’m not sure if that had anything to do with it… But if you have concerns, talk to the study abroad program and see what their thoughts are on the subject of safety for women in public.

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