Egyptian women suffer sexual harassment

Feb. 23, 2011 at 9:55 AM
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CAIRO, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- A human rights group says sexual harassment of women is an everyday occurrence on the streets of Cairo and doesn't happen only during a revolution.

In recent years, predatory packs of men have brutalized women at a number of public places, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

Catcalls, fondling, indecent exposure and other forms of sexual harassment by strangers are common, says Nehad Abdul Komsan, head of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, a non-governmental organization that campaigns against abuse.

"There is increasing violence against women in our society," Komsan said.

In May 2005, government security officers were filmed tearing the clothes and pulling the hair of four women at a protest rally.

"After that, we saw dramatic change," said Komsan. "It was like a very clear message that anything was allowed. Women became an open target."

Women were molested on a major street in Cairo in the summer of 2006 during ceremonies to mark the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting.

A 2008 poll of 2,129 women by Komsan's organization found 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women surveyed reported suffering sexual harassment.

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