- Middle East/North Africa
Shura Council’s human rights committee members said on Monday that women taking part in protests bear the responsibility of being sexually harassed, describing what happens in some demonstrators’ tents as “prostitution.”
Major General Adel Afify, member of the committee representing the Salafi Asala Party, criticized female protesters, saying that they “know they are among thugs. They should protect themselves before requesting that the Interior Ministry does so. By getting herself involved in such circumstances, the woman has 100 percent responsibility.”
During the committee meeting on Monday, Afify called for penalizing children, even if it does not conform to international charters to which Egypt is signatory, and criticized foreign-funded organizations, which adopt western thought, he said.
Salah Abdel Salam, a member representing the Salafi Nour Party, said that as long as women protest in places full of thugs, they should take responsibility for the harassment they face.
Mervat Ebeid, member representing Wafd party, said all societal categories are to be blamed for sexual harassment. She also said that knowing there are many thugs present at demonstrations, women should take responsibility when deciding whether to attend protests.
Reda Saleh al-Hefnawy, member representing FJP, demanded penalizing those who incite sexual harassment. He also called on women not to stand among men during protests.
On the other hand, Nabil Azmy, member representing Egypt Party, criticized what he described as ‘post-revolution attacks on women.’ He suggested that the solution would be arresting thugs and street children as well as detaining their parents for endangering their children’s lives.
Major General Abdel Fattah Othman, vice-chief of the public security department, said Egyptian law doesn’t include the term ‘sexual harassment,’ but does legislate against indecent assault and rape.
Security presence in Tahrir or in places of protests in sensitive, Othman said, suggesting that security personnel would get attacked if they were present at demonstrations.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm