The Crisis We Face
Sexual harassment in Egypt has reached catastrophic levels. In a UN Women 2013 study, 99.3% of Egyptian women surveyed said that they have been sexually harassed in their everyday life. The same study revealed that, in 85% of the cases, none of the bystanders actually intervened to help.
This epidemic has taken an even uglier turn. Sexual violence is now being used as a tool against women participating in political and public life. In just six days of mass protests between June 28 and July 7 2013, over 185 cases of horrific mob sexual assault and rape have been reported in Tahrir Square.
This is what a mob attack looks like: tens to hundreds—and sometimes thousands—of men will encircle a woman and begin to rip off her clothes, attack, and molest her, sometimes using knives and sharp objects. In some cases, the woman is raped. We believe that some of these attacks may be partially organized and politically motivated, but we are saddened and sickened to report that, in many cases, large numbers of bystanders look on passively—many even join in the frenzy.
It is a tragedy that sexual harassment and assault have somehow become socially acceptable in Egypt, with many people justifying the incidents and blaming the victims, or simply turning a blind eye. In a close-knit society where people will often intervene to stop a thief or break up a fight, this attitude reveals some serious misconceptions about sexual harassment and assault that urgently need to be addressed and turned around.
We at HarassMap are working to end the epidemic of sexual violence against women in Egypt. We have years of experience in conducting research on the issue and combating sexual harassment on the ground in communities all over the country. We are now launching a nationwide campaign to transform perceptions and passive attitudes on the issue and to rouse people into action. We need your help to make this happen.
Our aim is to raise $200,000 to create a massive campaign. Through advertising in TV, print, radio, online, music, art, graffiti and other channels, we will work to put an end to the epidemic of sexual harassment and assault. We will harness the Egyptian communal spirit to mobilize people to once again step in and intervene against sexual harassment, thus re-establishing the social safeguards that used to be a powerful deterrent against harassment.
Who we are
HarassMap, launched in 2010, is the first independent initiative to ever work on the issue of sexual harassment in Egypt.
We are also part of the OpAntiSH coalition (Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment and Assault: https://www.facebook.com/opantish), which intervenes directly to rescue women from mob attacks during mass protests.
Our day-to-day work consists of harnessing online and mobile technology to support a huge on-the-ground mobilization effort. We crowdsource SMS and online reports of sexual harassment, map them on our "HarassMap" (harassmap.org), and use these reports to show people the magnitude of the issue and dispel all the myths and excuses attached to the topic, like “how women dress” or “sexual frustration” being the reasons for sexual harassment.
Our 700 volunteers all over Egypt take our Map and go into their own neighborhoods, talking to people with a permanent presence in the street, like doormen/women, shopkeepers, kiosk owners - people who influence the culture of that street. Using real evidence from our reports, our volunteers respond to all the excuses people make for harassers, and convince them to stand up to harassment when they see it happen.
One of these courses of action is to declare their locale a Safe Zone, Vehicle, or School and to become role models in society who proudly show they have a zero tolerance policy for harassment. One by one, we're working with residents, businesses, drivers, workers, and students in neighborhoods all over the country to restore our sense of social responsibility and make all of Egypt a Safe Zone.
We also help activists around the world to implement HarassMap in their own countries, providing coaching and technical assitance. HarassMap has already launched in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India; projects in progress include Libya, Turkey, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, US, Canada, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Cambodia, Morocco and a group of countries in South America.
Finally, some of our awards:
- World Summit Youth Award (November 2011)
- Deutsche Welle Best of the Blogs (BOBs) award for 'Best Use Of Technology For Social Good 2012' (June 2012)
- Certificate of Recognition from the My Community Our Earth Partnership (August 2012)
Up till June 2012, we were a 100% volunteer initiative with an almost nonexistent budget, and yet we still managed to achieve all of the above. Today HarassMap consists of 4 founders, 13 paid staff, and approximately 700 volunteers in 13 governorates around Egypt.
How You Can Help
We need your help to fund a nationwide campaign of TV commercials, print ads, radio ads, guerilla marketing, pop culture, and graffiti to combat this epidemic.
We have a lot of partners who are also interested in the cause, so even though we are aiming to create a campaign that will have a huge impact, we will be given reduced rates.
Usually costs: $300,000
We think we can get it at: $70,000
Print & radio production
Usually costs: $80,000
We think we can get it at: $20,000
Printing of any stickers, posters, giveaways, guerilla marketing elements etc
Usually costs: $40,000
We think we can get it at: $20,000
Agency fees (advertising, PR, social media)
Usually costs: $120,000
We think we can get it at: $50,000
Usually costs: $200
We will get it at 0
Sustaining our 3-person marketing and communications team for 1 year:
Corporate rates for their caliber and experience: $90,000
We need $40,000
If you prefer to make a bank transfer or cash donation, please email us at email@example.com for the details.
Tracking the Results
We don’t do things haphazardly. We will be doing research prior to launching our campaign to get updated figures and insights on where we stand in terms of:
- frequency of harassment
- types of harassment
- reaction of bystanders
- perceptions towards harassment, the harasser, the harassed
We will then track these metrics after the campaign to measure the progress we’ve made in a concrete way. We promise to keep you posted with these results!
What else can you do to help?
- Spread the word! Tell everyone you know who believes in the cause to donate. We truly use every dollar donated make a real difference. If you would like to be part of the HarassMap fundraising team, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Volunteer! Send an email to email@example.com
- Follow us and share our posts and tweets
- Report sexual harassment if it happens to you, or if you witness it, by telling us what happened and where:
SMS 6069 or report it on our website