Heya: The Initiative Combatting Sexual Harassment at the American University in Cairo
This initiative is contributing to the conversation on sexual harassment on university campuses in Egypt.
Heya: The Feminist Initiative is “a student-led grassroots movement,” tells me its current president, Ahmed Ibrahim, a Junior of Anthropology at the American University in Cairo (AUC). It aims to shed light on sexual harassment among many of the issues that face women in Egypt.
Sexual harassment has been a growing topic of conversation in what’s been deemed the “#MeToo Era,” where women are becoming more vocal about their experiences with sexual violence. Because universities are among the many professional spaces where women routinely deal with sexual harassment, much of the outcry came from these institutions, no less from AUC.
Last May, AUC President Francis Ricciardone sent an email to all students, faculty, and staff encouraging them to come forward with any cases, reports or experiences of sexual harassment at AUC, in an effort to address the trend and engage the discussion.
At the time, Heya formed a team that’s been in the works since the initiative began in 2012, one that sat together to brainstorm ways to address the issue. This year, the team has become a task force that is directed towards raising awareness and sharing knowledge about sexual harassment, as well as working to ensure the safety of AUC community members from harassment, and discrimination based on gender and sexuality, both online and on-campus.
The Taskforce is going to be working closely with the administration to give the process of reporting sexual harassment more fluid accessibility, and a team trained to guide victims to the different facilities the university offers them. Heya intends to remain on the line of defense against this predatory behavior on campus, and they currently happen to be recruiting, too.
To learn more about the initiative, and maybe even chip in, follow Heya on Facebook now.