A new project aimed at combating sexual harassment on the streets of Cairo will soon be launched. The project, called HarassMap, aims to create a map of the ‘hotspots’ of harassment in Cairo – that is, the places where harassment most frequently occurs.
The interactive project will rely on the public’s participation. A unique mapping technology will use information sent by SMS to HarrassMap’s number to plot the locations where women are harassed. Women who send an SMS to HarrassMap will then receive a response including where the women can receive help, ranging from legal aid to psychological support.
According to co-founder Rebecca Chiao, mapping Cairo’s hotspots is only the first step toward the group’s goal “to change the social acceptability of sexual harassment.”
Once hotspots are identified, HarrassMap will go in groups of volunteers to speak with the community, particularly shop owners.
“Our message is that sexual harassment at these levels, with no consequences or support for women, is against Egyptian values, traditions, religions, everything. We’ve tolerated it and stayed silent for too long and now it has grown out of control,” Chiao told Bikya Masr.
Background: Egypt: sexual harrasment on the rise. “98 percent of the foreign women and 83 percent of the Egyptian women have at some point been subject to sexual harassment in Egypt. Often the blame is placed squarely on the shoulders of the victims… Its victims include Egyptian women from all social and religious classes, veiled and unveiled“.