Gender-based violence against women is widespread in Egypt, and appears to be ingrained in the society. A 2013 United Nations report found that over 99 percent of Egyptian women have experienced some form of gender-based abuse, whether physical, sexual or psychological. In a survey conducted by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, more than 62 percent of men interviewed admitted to having harassed women.
The incidence of violence against women is rising. Many say that this stems from a male view that objectifies women, that sees women simply in a physical role without any respect for their individuality and humanity. Attitudes persist that blame the victim (for example, for wearing provocative clothing), excuse the perpetrator (with a ‘boys will be boys’ argument), or constrict the definition of what constitutes gender-based violence to its more extreme forms, such as outright rape. Women themselves often feel discouraged from taking action to report crimes against them by public and official attitudes to such abuse.
Women took a prominent role in the 2011 revolution, yet even on Tahrir Square there were incidents of gender-based violence, sometimes extreme sexual assault and rape. Since then, the male attitude to women appears to have hardened and become even more intolerant.