Amnesty International's Egypt researcher Diana Eltahawy writes from Cairo.
Almost every girl and woman – regardless of age, social status or choice of attire – who has walked the streets or taken public transport in Cairo, has experienced some form of verbal or physical sexual harassment.
This isn’t new. For years, Egyptian women’s rights activists and others have called on the authorities to recognize the seriousness of the problem.
There needs to be a fundamental shift in institutionalized attitudes that discriminate against women.
The Egyptian authorities must introduce legal reforms, prosecute perpetrators and address root causes, because the plight of women who have experienced sexual violence has been ignored.
Blame is placed on the victims for being dressed “indecently”, or for daring to be present in “male” public spaces.
The horrific testimonies emerging following protests commemorating the second anniversary of the “25 January Revolution” have brought to light how violent mob sexual attacks against women have happened, but have rarely been brought to public attention.