Even though they report being harassed themselves, the Egyptian girls interviewed in this recent video still blame the victims for “provoking” such behaviour.
Sexual harassment is a widespread problem in Egypt and is one of the reasons Egypt was ranked as the worst country in the Arab world for women in a poll
published in November 2013 by Thomson Reuters Foundation.
A series of videos documenting this scourge have recently garnered international attention. One video
showed a Cairo University student being heckled by men, an act which the dean of the law school later blamed on the student’s clothing.
Dignity Without Borders
, a group devoted to women’s rights, wanted to investigate the social context of this harassment. Last month, DWB
released a video
asking schoolboys in Egypt why girls were harassed. The video, in which many young boys blamed girls for provoking harassment, went viral. Now, the same team has posed the question to young girls in another video
While many of the young respondents said they themselves had been harassed, they also linked harassment with promiscuous behaviour. For them, this included wearing tight clothes, responding in any way to the harassment, walking seductively and even laughing.
“There are girls who really force the guys to harass them in the street,” said one little girl. “They walk in a seductive manner that attracts and tempts the guy to harass her.”
Perhaps the most poignant quote comes from one little girl who says, “Guys have nothing to lose, but girls have everything to lose.”
The boys interviewed in the previous video had similar ideas.
“It’s usually the girls’ fault because sometimes they are strolling around with clothes that show their bodies,” says one little boy.