A student has been sexually assaulted by a mob of her fellow students at Cairo University, due to the perceived immodesty of her outfit. She was surrounded by a large group of male students, who physically and verbally assaulted her, trying to tear her clothes off. She fled to a bathroom where she remained until escorted from the premises.
A video of the incident, which shows the girl wearing black trousers and a pink sweater being assaulted, went viral on the internet on Monday, prompting a reactions from the University. Videos were allegedly recorded on the mobile phones of perpetrators.
Cairo University President Gaber Nassar said “The mistake of the female student does not justify what happened from the other students,” He specified that the girl had been wearing a long gown (abaya) over her clothes when she entered the campus, which she had later taken off.
Nassar provoked further outrage from anti-sexual harassment activists with his comment that “University security does not allow students to enter the university in clothes that are out of the ordinary,” meaning clothes did not conform to Egyptian society’s strict Islamic standards. Both the woman and her attackers are currently under investigation, and are facing disciplinary action from the university.
Fathi Fareed, spokesperson of the charity “I witnessed Harassment” told local television that he had been shocked by the President’s comments. The group is one of the many that has sprung up since the revolution to combat what has been described as an epidemic of sexual harassment in Egypt. He told reporters "This is a social disaster of sexual violence that the state needs to confront."
According to a study last year, 99% of Egyptian women have suffered from sexual harassment in one form or another.