The Middle East's Biggest Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign Just Launched in Egypt
Menna Shalaby and Hany Adel team up with Bassita to kickstart the biggest anti-sexual harassment campaign witnessed in the region.
There's not much that can be said on sexual harassment in Egypt that hasn't already been said before. Attempting to shame men into keeping it in their pants by reminding them that those women closest to them are also subject to the same struggle never seems to be an effective solution, and it shouldn't be. Men who commit this heinous crime should be treated exactly like the criminals they are.
While criminals usually end up in jail, these kinds of criminals don't; they're everywhere else instead, most commonly in Egypt's public transportation. That is why when Bassita, an Egyptian social enterprise and NGO focused on tackling social issues, sought to stand up to sexual harassment, they decided to take matter into their own hands and take to where it's most rampant; public transportation.
"We came up with the idea more than 8 months ago, and have since been working on getting all the necessary official permits to launch the campaign, and luckily not only did we get the permits, but a number of ministries and reputable NGOs decided to join in our effort to ensure the success of the campaign," says Bassita's Project Officer Mostafa Habib, further explaining that the video, which is taking Egypt's social media by storm, will run on most national and private TV channels in Egypt, maximising the impact of the unprecedented campaign.
"Women should feel safe to freely move, go to work, and not have to suffer while simply just moving around," said Dr Sahar Nasr, International Cooperation Minister, earlier today at the conference. "We're working with other ministries on this campaign to ensure existing laws on sexual harassment get enforced."
The campaign's next stage is taking to Egypt's public transportation network and flooding it with anti-harassment messages, while advertising the national hotline to report sexual harassment, further empowering women and attempting to address the biggest obstacle to fighting sexual harassment in Egypt: silence.
Women have been taught to be quiet, walk fast, and live in constant fear. They've been told that speaking up would do more harm than good, and, above all, they've been taught to blame themselves. Bassita is out to change that, and we couldn't be more on board.
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Main image by Marwa Ragheb