Egypt, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom

What do these three countries have in common? Besides all starting with vowels, the commonality is that I’ve read a street harassment-related article from each country in the last 24 hours. Here’s the scoop:

Egypt: Justin D. Martin, a journalism professor at The American University in Cairo wrote a great opinion piece for the Christian Science Monitor about the widespread problem of men blaming women for sexual harassment and why.

He points to studies like one from 2008 which showed that 50 percent of men blamed women for the harassment they inflicted on them, and a new study from the Population Council which showed nearly 80 percent of Egyptian boys and men ages 15-29 agreed that a woman who is harassed deserves it if she had dressed provocatively.

And he explores how Egyptian men aren’t wired to blame victims of sexual harassment, instead they are taught to do it. Proposed legislation against sexual harassment would help, he says, but what’s really needed is an ideological shift. Definitely!

Indonesia: AFP reports today that Indonesia is joining many other countries in creating women-only public transportation to reduce the rates of sexual harassment. Right now these carriages are only found on the Jakarta to Bogor line. They are distinguished from the other cars by their pink seats and they are located at the front and back of the trains. “We want to improve our service and protect female passengers so they feel more safe,” rail official Makmur Syaheran said.

Sounds like another band aid fix to a serious problem…

United Kingdom: Earlier this month Dawn Foster began the blog 101 Wankers where she calls out the men who harasser her while she rides her bicycle around London. Yesterday she shared her experiences with harassers and with creating the blog in a Guardian article.

Let’s hope she doesn’t reach 101 incidents of harassers, but if she does, at least it will be cataloged for the world to see and have to acknowledge. Way to go, Dawn. Call out the wankers!


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