Shame Less مش عيب

Sexual harassment is a widespread and serious problem in Egypt: the country has the second-highest figures in the world after Afghanistan. According to a 2013 United Nations study, “virtually all Egyptian women have been victims of sexual harassment,” with a whopping 99.3 percent of the women studied having been sexually harassed. According to the same study, 82.6 percent of the total female respondents did not feel safe or secure in the street – this simple action can expose women to harassment and abuse of all kinds. In Oct 2017, a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters described Cairo as the most dangerous city for women.

Universally, the concept of sexual harassment entails “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature,” as adopted by the United Nations. However, this is not always the case for people in Egypt, as some still consider sexual harassment to be primarily physical, while verbal harassment is simply ‘moa’aksa’, which translates as ‘hitting on someone’. Although Egypt has had some “Me Too” moments,their effects have been ephemeral.

I have been verbally and sexually harassed in the streets, at home,and at work in Cairo, and am enraged by the prevalence and normalization of the problem. One of the underlying problems that prevent women from speaking up and reporting assault is victim blaming and shaming, causing ongoing trauma. I want to shed light on the issue and fight the stigma around reporting assault: the perpetrators are the ones who should be ashamed of themselves.

This project centres around Egyptian women’s stories of sexual harassment in different public and private spaces.


copyright © 2021 Lina Geoushy