Crowdsourcing against sexual harassment
Sadly, sexual harassment is a daily occurrence in Egypt. Unbelievable but true – there has been no explanation yet. At the time of the Mubarak government, the blame was placed on most victims — claiming they were not “sufficiently veiled” and provoked men. The Internet portal Harassmap.org is using the principle of crowdsourcing to unite women to be heard.
Affected women can report their experience and describe the crime scene on Harassmap.org via SMS, Twitter, email or phone. Anyone who takes a brief overview of the already written entries will soon realize that the messages range from mere gawking to attempted rape.
Meanwhile Harassmap.org already recorded almost 500 entries. On the home page of the portal one immediately notices a map showing the regions in which sexual harassment occurs most often. Harassmap.org co-founder, Rebecca Chiao, visited the prominent areas and tried with a few volunteers to educate local people about sexual harassment. Her goal is to make people realize that we all must pull together to ensure safe neighborhoods.
Sexual harassment is a taboo subject in Egypt and is not even an official criminal legal offense. On Harassmap.org you can even find complaints about police who allegedly sexually harassed women. 83 percent of all indigenous women have been victims of sexual harassment at least once. That was reported in a study in 2008 by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights. Affected women often conceal their harassment, whether out of shame or fear. Harassmap now wants to counteract. Let’s hope that this model will protect women in other countries from further future abuse.