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Egypt: Donate & help end sexual harassment in Egypt

Tuesday 4 June 2013, by siawi3

Monday, May 20, 2013 2:43 PM

Dear Friends,
As you all know, I am the Co-founder of the initiative that is very close to my heart and a one that I’ve been working on with an amazing team for almost 3 years now, we in Harassmap have put together a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help continue our work against sexual harassment and assault in Egypt. As we all know, sexual harassment in Egypt is completely out of control and an ever growing phenomena that we are pledging to continue working against . It affects the daily lives of almost everyone here including - in the most recent study released by UN women and 99.3% of women, but of course the whole society suffers the impacts, including men and boys.

In the past years we’ve been working hard and we now have 700 volunteers working directly in the streets, public transportation, schools and universities, plus a reporting system that helps us document (and prove!) the problem. Now we want to launch a public campaign across Egypt to reach the mass population.

Please consider giving a donation. Every little bit will count.

To donate go to:

Thank you,

Engy Ghozlan

What’s the problem?

Sexual harassment in Egypt has reached crisis level. In a UN Women 2013 study, 99.3% of Egyptian women surveyed admitted to being sexually harassed. Our data shows that there are no predictable trends - rural and urban, day and night, old and young - harassers of all ages and backgrounds operate everywhere and with impunity.

In the same study, in 85% of the cases, none of the bystanders to the harassment incident actuallyintervened to help. In close-knit Egyptian society, where people in the street will often jump in to stop a thief or break up a fight, this passive attitude is worrying. It suggests that Egyptians in general don’t see sexual harassment as a crime, often putting blame on the victim and sympathizing with the harasser. In fact, some studies indicate that perpetrators feel more ’masculine’ when they harass! So sexual harassment may be seen as manly, even cool - and it is definitely socially acceptable.

And what are we going to do about it?

Building on our team’s 8 years of experience combating sexual harassment on the ground in communities all over Egypt, and conducting research on the issue, HarassMap was formed in 2010 to end this social acceptability. A critical component to achieving this goal is launching a new public campaign to change passive attitudes and activate society to stand up to harassers’ behavior.

We will create a nationwide campaign through advertising in TV, print, radio, online, music, art, graffiti and other channels to change the perceptions associated with sexual harassment and create a positive association with standing up to harassment. We will convince people that what is in fact ’cool’ is to use the Egyptian communal spirit to step in and intervene, therefore re-establishing social consequences for harassers that have eroded over the years.

If we can convince people through powerful and clever communication to stand up to harassment and denounce it, this will change the equation, leading to a significant decrease in sexual harassment incidents.

So far, most communication out there on sexual harassment has fallen into two traps:

1) Message: the message is often directed at the harasser, and the tone is often confrontational, defensive, and/or angry. We can’t blame the people creating this communication for their emotions, but who will this convince? Why would a harasser care if we’re angry at them?

2) Scale: most communication has been on a small scale: a Facebook poster, a one-off TV program, etc. If we’re trying to address the social acceptability of sexual harassment in Egypt, which is a nationwide issue, there needs to be nationwide efforts.

So we will do things differently: we will address the community - the bystanders who tolerate and turn a blind eye to sexual harassment - in a positive way. We will convince them to stand up to harassment, just as they would if they encounter a thief in the street. And we will do it through a campaign that will hopefully reach every Egyptian household!

Who are we anyway?

HarassMap, launched in 2010, is the first independent initiative to ever work on the issue of sexual harassment in Egypt.

We harness online and mobile technology to support a huge on-the-ground mobilization effort, and vice versa. We crowdsource SMS and online reports of sexual harassment, map them on our “HarassMap” (, 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 once or twice a month, 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. We make a point of showing them reports from their own street and neighborhood, which is often a shock, causing people to reconsider their assumptions and take action.

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)
Until June 2012, we were a 100% volunteer initiative with an almost nonexistant 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, including Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Qaliubiya, Minya, Gharbia, Beni Suef, Faiyum, Port Said, Dakahlia, Assiut, Sohag and the Red Sea.

So how can you help?

We need to fund this campaign that would change the perceptions associated with sexual harassment and create a positive association with standing up to harassment.

We need to be able to do this professionally through a high-quality campaign, and we have reallyambitious targets. For this to be successful, we need to have the budget that will fund production of full-fledged TV commercials, print ads, radio ads, guerilla marketing, pop culture, graffiti, etc.

We have a lot of partners who are also interested in the cause, so even though we are aiming to create a campaign that would have a huge impact, we won’t actually need to spend what companies usually do:

TV production

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

Research costs:

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 years of experience: $90,000

We need $40,000

We’re running this crowdfunding campaign to fund the production of these ads. We will run a follow-up campaign to raise the budget necessarily for media – to run the campaign on all the nationwide channels required to make it a truly effective campaign.

Perks for you:

We’re not dishing out perks. We hope you’re donating your money because you believe in addressing the issue of sexual harassment in Egypt and would like to have a positive tangible role in this movement.

Measuring impact:

We don’t do things haphazardly. We will be doing research prior to launching our campaign to getupdated 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.

- Volunteer! Send an email to volunteer

- Follow us and share our posts and tweets


Facebook: /HarassMapEgypt

Twitter: @harassmap