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Women's Rights center stresses raising awareness of sexual harassment among children
Published in Daily News Egypt on 14 - 12 - 2008

CAIRO: "Talk to your children about sexual harassment was the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights' (ECWR) message on a seminar Saturday marking the finale of the UN's Sailing the Nile campaign for the Millennium Development Goals.
ECWR chair Nehad Abol Qomsan, called on parents to discuss sexual harassment with their children to raise their awareness on the issue. This, she said, would help protect them in schools and help them identify harassment incidents.
She pointed to the ECWR's awareness campaign in local schools where their efforts were much needed.
Many teachers have told us that they didn t know how to deal with sexual harassment in schools or what to tell kids who were subjected to it, Abol Qomsan added.
Some women fear reporting their children's harassment cases for fear of a scandal, she explained. The true scandal here is not protecting our kids and not encouraging them [young or old] to speak up because we are embarrassed or scared.
Abol Qomsan referred to the heavy security presence in the street as normal, in order to ensure the safety of women.
According to an ECWR report released earlier this year, 98 percent of foreign women and 60 percent of Egyptian women are harassed in the street on a daily basis.
Police arrested 50 men after verbally harassing women on the first day of the Eid holidays last week. As a result, the government has deployed more police in the capital in an effort to stem the tide of such attacks.
During Eid El Fitr, following the holy month of Ramadan, over 100 young men were arrested for sexually harassing and abusing women in Mohandiseen.
While most of the young men were released for lack of evidence, a local court sentenced one of teenagers involved to a year in prison for sexually assaulting two women last month.
The Mohandiseen mass attack coincided with the second anniversary of Downtown Cairo's massive sexual harassment incident in 2006 where mobs of young men attacked female bystanders, ripping their clothes off and groping them near a local movie theater.
ECWR presented a few suggestions to fighting the problem using unconventional methods such as prohibiting the harasser from leaving his home province for a set period of time, or establishing specialized security checkpoints in the streets, dedicated to reporting sexual harassment cases and helping victims.


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