The Safety Initiative against sexual harassment reported on Friday that 174 sexual harassment cases had been filed in the Cairo and Giza governorates during Eid Al-Adha.
Due to the high number of complaints, the initiative stated that sexual harassment was at its highest this year when compared to the past three years.
On the third day of the feast, Qasr Al-Nil police station received 50 reports, feeding the belief that Cairo’s downtown area remains unsafe for women to walk around during the holiday.
In a Friday statement, the initiative said that the increase in the cases of sexual harassment contradicts a statement by the National Council for Women that said the phenomenon has decreased due to the high security presence and harsher penalties imposed on harassers.
Regarding police performance against harassment, the initiative said: “Since 2005 we have witnessed from time to time the involvement of police officers in sexual violence and sexual abuse cases against women and girls”.
The initiative said that increased security restrictions and a crack down on civil society initiatives have prevented organisations from being present in areas where harassment could take place.
The initiative denounced police statements that sexual harassment has decreased, and called on the police to announce the number of reports filed against harassment for this holiday and previous ones in order to work harder on preventing harassment.
It further suggested training and qualifying concerned bodies on combating violence against women in accordance with the principles of the UN Organization for Human Rights.
The Safety Initiative concluded by calling on the Interior Ministry to welcome civil society organisation initiatives to combat the phenomenon and called on media outlets to respect the privacy of females who faced the phenomenon and to not publish their photos without their permissions.
During the 2015 Eid Al-Adha, the “I Saw Harassment” initiative reported 447 verbal and physical sexual harassment incidents. It also accused security personnel of sexually harassing females during the Eid celebrations.
Several civil society initiatives that were self-oraginsed to combat harassment complained of security officials preventing them from carrying out their mission.