Well, the official title of the Facebook event that’s going on right now is Free self-defence class for women. But we like the slogan on the banner much more. It shows the urgency and frustration of dealing with the harrasment that’s considered the norm in Cairo day to day life. The Atlantic gives us some background on this and other classes and some infuriating statistics. In 2008 a study showed 83 percent of Egyptian women have experienced harassment. By 2013, only five years on, this figure has risen to 99 percent, of which 96 percent have experienced unwelcome touching or worse. That’s a rise in incidence to which we can only say: What The H#ll?
The self defence classes organized by Tahrir Bodyguard are the latest in a series of efforts to tackle the issue of street harassment. Another initiative that’s been active for a while and also mentioned in the Atlantic article is Harassmap. The site is simple in design and goal; it allows anyone who’s been harassed to report via mail or SMS, after which the incident is added to a digital map of Egypt. So far the map has grown to become a very sad graphic reminder of the reality that many women face.