Women in Egypt say sex attacks up

Dec. 5, 2012 at 7:47 PM
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CAIRO, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Many Egyptian women say they are afraid to go out because of men who harass or even assault them, sometimes operating in packs.

While women have always faced public attacks in Egypt, activists say the problem has become worse since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, NBC News reported.

"It is not a country of law, not a state of law anymore. It has given men a chance to harass women without being accused," said Afaf Marie, who heads the Egyptian Association for Community Participation and Enhancement.

Heba Morayef, a regional official with Human Rights Watch, said Egyptian men are not as cowed by police as they used to be. Many police officers also do not take sexual harassment claims seriously.

Sonia Dridi said she was forced to take refuge in a Hardee's Restaurant in Tahrir Square when a group of men surrounded her as she filed a report to France 24. She said she could not tell who was trying to grab her and who was trying to help her -- and if some of her supposed helpers were actually attackers.

"The thing that was so sad was that the Hardee's waiters were ... waiting to help me because they are so used to that," she told NBC.

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