Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:19 pm (KSA) 09:19 am (GMT)

Half of Egypt’s women harassed daily: poll

Most women said they were harassed in the street or on public transport (File)
Most women said they were harassed in the street or on public transport (File)

Almost half of Egyptian women are sexually harassed on a daily basis with more than half of Egyptian men admitting lewd behavior, the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights said on Thursday.

The group polled 2,020 people -- including men and foreign women -- in Cairo, and the center’s director, Nihad Abul Qomsan, said that the figures showed harassment was on the rise.

Of those surveyed, 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women said they had been harassed at some point, while 46 percent of Egyptian women and 52 percent of foreign women said they were harassed daily.

Most women said they were harassed in the street or on public transport, with harassment defined as "any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature which makes women feel uneasy and gives them a feeling of insecurity."

Abul Qomsan said that almost two-thirds of Egyptian men -- 62 percent -- admitted harassing women, including those wearing Islamic headscarves.

"This shows that the belief that harassment is linked to women who wear indecent clothing is false," she said, condemning the fact that in the deeply religious country women often feel responsible despite being victims.

The centre said that last year only 12 percent of women went to the police with a harassment complaint.

In 2006, women's rights activists angrily spoke out against what they called the authorities' acceptance of sexual harassment against women, after a mob of men openly molested women in central Cairo.

The interior ministry said it did not receive any formal complaints and has never admitted any mass harassment occurred despite the incident being widely reported in the press and some bloggers posting footage on the Internet.

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