Save the Children Egypt launched its second #SpeakUp campaign against sexual harassment of adolescent girls on November 25, as part of the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.”
The #SpeakUp campaign uses social media and community activities to highlight the importance of supporting girls aged 12-18 to report incidents of sexual harassment, and making sure they have proper access to the support services they need such as psychosocial support and legal services.
Kevin Fitzcharles Country Director of Save the Children Egypt said: “We are launching this campaign because no girl anywhere should have to live in fear of being harassed as they walk home from school. Girls are among the most disadvantaged groups in Egypt, facing high levels of discrimination, large disparities in educational and economic opportunities, and with little influence over the decision-making which affects their lives. One of the biggest challenges they face is harassment – on the streets, on the bus, and throughout their daily lives.”
Studies show that 95-99% of girls and women in Egypt have been sexually harassed, with 49% reporting it happens on a daily basis. Women say they are often harassed in the streets (89.3%) and on public transport (81.8%), and do not feel safe at the beach, markets, parks or shopping malls.
This harassment reflects deep-rooted gender inequalities and prevents girls having equal access to education and other opportunities, and unable to participate in their communities. Many girls stay at home as a result of harassment.
As well as raising the issue on social media and at the community level, the #SpeakUp campaign empowers youth to lead community-based initiatives raising awareness on sexual harassment, and coordinates the only active civil society network for eliminating gender-based violence (GBV).
#SpeakUp is part of Save the Children’s global “Every Last Child” campaign, which aims to reach children who are neglected or excluded. In Egypt the campaign targets girls in poor urban neighbourhoods.