Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Updated at 7:48 a.m. ET: CAIRO - Walaa Al Momtaz doesn’t leave her home for up to five days at a time. The neatly veiled 22-year-old misses her friends at City University, where she studies English and German, but what she faces upon leaving her house defeats her.
Men and boys constantly harass and threaten Al Momtaz on the bus, on the street and at the university.
"Every day men talk to me in a bad way, laugh at me and say things about what I am wearing," she told NBC News. On a recent bus trip, a man stuck his hand through a gap in the seat to touch her.
Al Momtaz has gotten off relatively lightly.
On Nov 25, Al-Ahram state newspaper reported three women were sexually assaulted during anti-Morsi demonstrations by hundreds of men.
In September, Eman Mostafa, 16, was gunned down after she spit in the face of a man who harassed her in the province of Assiut, according to police reports.
The Feb. 11, 2011, attack on CBS News' Lara Logan as she filed a report for "60 Minutes" in Tahrir Square, epicenter of the uprising that forced dictator Hosni Mubarak to step down last year, brought international attention to the problem of sex attacks on women in public places.
Public violence against women was rampant well before the movement that unseated Mubarak in 2011. According to a 2008 study by an Egyptian NGO, 83 percent of women have been victims of harassment.
In the post-Mubarak era, activists and protesters have reported many particularly violent assaults on women. Some experts allege the government and security officials are failing to take the problem seriously. More than 700 claims of harassment were filed across Egypt over the four-day Id al-Adha holiday in late October.
"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, director of the Egyptian Association for Community Participation and Enhancement, an NGO.
Some activists fear that women's rights will suffer under the rule of President Mohammed Morsi, who is an Islamist.
Posted on 12/05/2012 9:56 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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