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Policewomen Aim to Eliminate Eid Harassment

Extra policewomen will be on the streets of Egypt to deter the typically high harassment rates during Eid.

Over the last few years, Egypt has experienced surges in harassment during the end of the holy month and throughout Eid celebrations. Now, according to AswatMasriya, Cairo Security Directorate (CSD) is finally putting extra policewomen on the streets to fight the harassment women face during Eid al-Fitr.

As the CSD stated, according to All Africa, reports of sexual harassment, rape, and assault "tend to increase during the holiday." The head of Egyptian organisation Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development, Azza Kamel, echoed the sentiment, saying that "sexual harassment still happens everywhere, especially during public holidays and celebrations."

ACT recently launched the campaign I Saw Harassment to try to counter the rise in incidents of sexual harassment. Kamel doesn't think that harassment will decrease despite the laws that criminalise the acts. In 2014, for the first time ever, Egypt criminalised sexual harassment during the tenure of interim president Adly Mansour. The law specifically imposes jail terms of a minimum of six months and/or fines of 3,000 LE to 5,000 LE on those guilty of sexual harassment in public or private areas.

The woman in charge of the additional police force, Colonel Nashwa Mahmoud, takes the fine seriously, as she wants to allow "girls to live their lives normally and celebrate" during the upcoming Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Colonel Mahmoud also told state-run news agency MENA that although she believes girls should live their lives, she gave the caveat that this is to be done within the "limits of our authentic Egyptian values and habits."