Smartphone film capturing daily sexual harassment in Cairo goes viral

A female filmmaker in Cairo used her phone to capture shocking scenes of harassment (screen grab).

What is it like for a woman to walk alone through the streets of Cairo? A young Egyptian journalist used a hidden camera to capture the reaction of passers-by as she walked through the Egyptian capital.

Over the past fews years, there's been numerous reports on the rampant sexual harassment plaguing Egypt. In a recent study, 83% of Egyptian women and 98% of foreign women reported that they had been on the receiving end of  obscene comments or inappropriate gestures from by men in the street.

Filmmakers Colette Ghunim and Tinne Van Loon are in the process of making a documentary on the subject, called "The People's Girls", and have released a short film to publicise their work.

To capture this daily reality, they decided to use a cell phone to discretely film people on a busy street in Cairo. The result is a short video entitled "Creepers on the Bridge".


Contributors
Colette Ghunim is a documentary filmmaker who lives in Cairo.

My colleague and I wanted people to understand the anxiety that women feel when faced with the relentless stares of certain men. Originally, we wanted to film this using a real camera so that the quality would be better for our documentary. But the men reacted in a completely different way when the camera was around, some even became aggressive and tried to prevent us from filming. So we came up with the idea of using a phone.

I held the phone close to my face and pretended to talk into it so no one would suspect what I was doing, but I secretly turned the camera to the street to film the passers-by. As usual, I got lots of unseemly comments, whistles and uncomfortable stares. It’s pretty oppressive. I got all these reactions even though I had decided to wear a completely neutral, non-provocative outfit: a cardigan and a long skirt.

Unfortunately, you can’t really hear what the men are saying in the video— as I was pretending to talk to someone, my voice covers their comments. We decided to use a popular song against harassment "A3akes Ah At7rash La2" (Translation: "Flirt yes, harassment no").

As part of our documentary, we also reached out to a female lawyer, who said that legislation against sexual harassment in Egypt does exist, but it is rarely applied.

Comments

I must agree with previous

I must agree with previous commentator about the lack of a view to the dame walking along the bridge. Just to understand the situation better. For sure, it's not that a woman can be treated with disrispect just because she walks along the street.
The lack of direct sound makes lost the factor "Whistles and comments", also as subtitles. We'll never know.
Stares are still intense in some cases. And I will not say that any woman deserves or would like to be starred in that way.
My two cents.

it would have been good to

it would have been good to show what the filmmakers looked like while recording.. obviously if they looked odd or out of place more people would look at them. And also ideally would have been good if they have shown it without editing..so we know how women reacted to them too.

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