Posted Dec 17, 2008 08:58 pm CST
Despite a conservative culture based on Islamic law, sexual harassment is prevalent in Eqypt.
And women there, who have been reluctant to pursue criminal complaints in a society that makes it difficult for them to do so, are starting to fight back, reports the Los Angeles Times.
A 27-year-old former law student who was groped by a truck driver has led the way, pursuing a complaint in a landmark case that led to his being sentenced, in October, to three years of hard labor. Within a few weeks, four more sexual harassment complaints had been filed, compared to none at all in some recent years, the Times recounts.
Although women are routinely discouraged by their families from pursuing such complaints, the father of the woman in the landmark case, documentary filmmaker Noha Rushdi Saleh, urged her to file a complaint, according to her lawyer, Ziad Eleimy.
“A recent study by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights found that 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women experience public sexual harassment in this country dependent on Western tourists, including explicit comments, groping, men exposing themselves and assault,” the newspaper writes.