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Egyptian women speak out amid global focus on sexual harassment

While social media campaigns are giving voice to many hitherto voiceless women in Egypt, much remains to be done about sexual harassment in the country.
Egyptian protesters hold up placards and shout slogans during a demonstration in Cairo against sexual harassment on February 12, 2013. Egyptian protesters took to the street again to demand an end to sexual violence, as campaigns against the repeated attacks in central Cairo pick up steam. Sexual harassment has long been a problem in Egypt, but recently the violent nature and frequency of the attacks have raised the alarm.   AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI        (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Gett
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Two years ago, Somaya Tarek, known in the Egyptian media as “the mall girl,” was sexually harassed in a mall in the eastern Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. When she bravely chased down her harasser, he physically assaulted her before security guards came to her rescue. The scene was captured by mall security cameras and the man was arrested.

Tarek shared the details of the traumatic incident on a talk show on the privately owned Al Nahar TV channel. Much to her dismay, the female talk show host accused her of having “provoked harassment by wearing a sleeveless T-shirt.” Reham Saeed, the host in question, also showed private photos of Tarek in a bathing suit, allegedly obtained from the latter’s cellphone — without prior permission from Tarek — by the production team.

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