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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Well, That's One Way to Handle It

As a country, Egypt generally garners a lot of (mostly well-deserved) criticism for its treatment of women.  That being said, we have to give credit to the citizens who are making an attempt to improve the situation for the women of Egypt.

Now, as a general rule, the GTB doesn't encourage vigilantism, but in some circumstances you can't argue that it isn't warranted.  In this case, a group of Egyptian men has taken it upon themselves to address the rampant sexual harassment that has reached epidemic proportions in Egypt.  Sexual harassment is so out of control that men will board women only train cars just to get their grope on.  The situation is ridiculous and largely unregulated by police.

At a recent festival in Cairo an anti-harassment group that calls itself "Be a Man" dawned neon vests and went on patrol for harassers.  When they witnessed an infraction, they tackled the offender and spray painted "I am a harasser" on his person.  Sometimes on his face.

While the group's tactics weren't well received by the police, here at the GTB we salute your efforts vigilantes!  When asked why they decided on this course of action, a representative from the group answered "Because, in our society, a girl blames herself when she gets harassed. When she speaks out to her family about it, they blame her. Sometimes they prevent her from going to school or going outside because they think that sexual harassment is the girl’s problem, not the harasser’s problem. So, when our group attacks the harasser, the girl feels confident in herself. She feels like she was right, she feels like the street is supporting her. She'll have the confidence to walk in the street without fear and she won’t be afraid to speak out if it happens again."

America could probably benefit, at least a little, from the revival of public shaming.  Maybe it is time we take some moves from the Egyptian Vigilante Playbook (now available for Kindle). 


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