The Legal Framework of Sexual Harassment in Egypt, Weaknesses & Recommendations

Cairo, 3rd of July 2020


A couple of days ago more than 50 Egyptian & Foreign women reported sexual assault against Ahmed Bassam, who dropped the college at AUC in 2018 and traveled to Spain accusing him of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, and two hashtags related to the allegations were the top trending in Egypt. 
Recently, the sexual harassment phenomenon has rapidly increased in the Middle East’s societies; especially, the Egyptian society, and it has become a very controversial issue.
And the question is 


Is Egypt doing enough to counter widespread sexual harassment?

Before we answer this please take a look at the following numbers first:


1. 62 percent of Egyptian men admitted that they sexually harassed women.
2. And more than 80 percent Egyptian women reported that they were harassed, according to study that was conducted in 2008 by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights (ECWR 2008).
3. A recent study by ECWR showed that almost 72% of sexual harassment victims in Egypt wear veils.
4. According to the previous study by ECWR, 56 % of Egyptian men got harassed, but did not report to authorities
5. In addition, according to a personal survey that is made on a selected sample of 100 individual, 50 males and 50 females; 95% have experienced sexual harassment in Egypt; 98% of females and 67 % of males have experienced verbal and physical sexual harassment in Egypt.


So What is the Punishment for Sexual Harassment in Egypt?

(1) Generally, sexual harassment is not directly and clearly addressed in the Egyptian Law or constitution; yet, it can be obliquely addressed under three different articles on the Egyptian criminal law. First, in the Article 306 of the Egyptian penal code about “Insulting”, This law considers insulting; including verbal sexual harassment as a minor crime that is trialed in a partial court and its sentence ranges between a penalty fine of one hundred Egyptian pounds fine and of a one month imprisonment. Second, sexual harassment can be considered as a “public indecency” and be entitled to a criminal court and a sentence up to three years under the sexual crimes’ section of Article 278 of the penal code. Last but not least, physical sexual harassment can be included under the Sexual Ebaid Sexual Harassment in Egypt: A Neglected Crime 8 Assault law under Article 268 of the penal code and its trialed under a criminal law as well but with a longer sentence ranges between three and fifteen years imprisonment.
But obviously these mentioned laws are not enough to In order to diminish the phenomena of sexual harassment in Egypt, causes of sexual harassment must be addressed and assessed promptly. In addition, the legal framework, enforcement of the laws and spreading awareness about the issue must be addressed through the roles of the parliament government, civil society, the media and the public.

The following are some recommendations by Neama Ebaid as a part of the assessment for the Egyptian Government performance in regard to the Sexual Harassment in Egypt;

First, the parliament has a role of restructuring and amending the legal framework, policies and laws against sexual harassment in Egypt. Ease of accessing laws should be granted for all women and punishments should be stricter and more defined. 


Second, the government has the responsibility of the prompt enforcement of these laws as well as training the executive and judicial forces. The government also has to carryout initiatives and projects to spread awareness about sexual harassment in educational and public institutions. In addition, the government has to support and encourage non-governmental organizations and other run social institutions and groups to carry out projects and initiatives about sexual harassments. Those initiatives and campaigns should not be centralized in Cairo only; yet, they should be covering all governorates of Egypt. Moreover, The government should enable the public to report cases and ease the process for them. 


Third, civil society must continue carrying out campaigns and initiatives to stop sexual harassment in Egypt and to raise awareness about it. 


Last but not least, a collaborative role between government, civil society and media must be done. Awareness and educational projects about sexual harassment must be implemented in schools, streets, work places and media. Civil society, women groups, and media have a role of continually pressuring and monitoring the government actions and its enforcement of the laws



If you ever have been through any kind of sexual harassment and need legal support, please don't hesitate to reach us at Help@mpl-academy.com and we will provide you with full legal support totally for free