To be a woman in Egypt is to live with the crushing inevitability of sexual harassment. The magnitude of the problem is epidemic. Over the time, it has become a society in which, just leaving home is a daily nightmare. It took time and courage for women to expose their anguish, the way they are treated and many females who routinely experience the same on the streets. However, it appears that if you talk about this torture in public, you would be jailed, just like Amal Fathy. An actor and a former activist, who made a video on her Facebook account alleging sexual harassment has been given two years in prison and a fine on charges of “spreading false news.” Egyptian Women Break The Internet and Gender Stereotypes By Performing Parkour.
In May, this year, Fathy posted the 12-minute video detailing her anger at poor public services at a local bank, how she was sexually harassed by a taxi driver and overall deterioration of the living conditions in the country. Just two days after the post, Egyptian police officials entered her home in a pre-dawn raid and arrested her with her husband and son, who were released later. However, Fathy was put on trial on the accuse of “spreading false news” with an intent to harm the Egyptian state and possessing “indecent material”, as reported by The Guardian. She was sentenced to one year in prison along with a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds for making “public insults.” Happy Endings a Must? Sexual Harassment is 'Part of The Business' Canadian Police Officer Tells Massage Therapist.
Watch video of Egyptian activist Amal Fathy speaking about sexual harassment she faced.
In the second trial, which is underway, the former activist faces allegations that include being a member of a terrorist organisation. Fathy’s husband, Mohamed Lotfy was quoted as saying, “The sentencing is an appalling verdict that contains a message for every harasser, that he is free to harass without fearing punishment, and to every victim of harassment that if she speaks out, she will be jailed.” Her husband is a human rights activist and executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms. He further added, “When a woman is subjected to sexual harassment and gets sentenced to two years and fined then this means we are telling all Egyptian women ‘shut your mouths ...if you don’t want to go to prison’.”
During and after 2011 uprising, when women were harassed and, in some cases, beaten and sexually assaulted during mass protests gained worldwide attention. In a 2013 survey by the United Nations, 99 per cent of women reported that they had experienced some form of sexual harassment. Again, a study released last year, by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Cairo is ranked as the most dangerous megacity in the world for women. Media outlets suggest that many women in Egypt who have attempted to publicly discuss their experiences of harassment in Egypt have faced similar treatment as Amal Fathy.