CAIRO – The #MeToo campaign which saw women around the world share their experiences of sexual assault struck a deep chord in Egypt where life is often a battle again harassment.
Female social media users in the country documented their own accounts of unwanted advances and violence in the latest push to speak out over the endemic problem despite conservative backlash from society.
“One time when I was pregnant… a man harassed me in the middle of a market, and when I hit him in his chest, he slapped,” said one contributor Basma Mostafa in a Facebook post. “It’s terrifying and doesn’t stop at just harassment,” she added.
“I stopped walking in the street. I spent about half my salary… on taxis just to avoid being dragged about or harassed,” said another user Youstina Tharwat.
Targeting of women in Egypt has long been a major problem and statistics on the scale of the threat they face make shocking reading. The UN reported in 2013 that 99.3% of women had experienced at least one form of harassment and 82.6% did not feel safe in the streets.
Activist Mozn Hassan said the #MeToo campaign which sprung up reaction to revelations over alleged sexual harassment by film director Harvey Weistein helped even more to come forward with their accounts.