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Hidden Camera Shows Haunting Stares Women Face on Egypt’s Streets

Hidden Camera Shows Haunting Stares Women Face on Egypt’s Streets

Creepers on the Bridge from Tinne Van Loon on Vimeo.

While once upon a time Egyptian men and women could walk carefree along the Nile River and on the bustling streets of Egypt, today women walking along the same paths often feel objectified: from the heavy eyes of men lingering around them and the misogynistic catcalls to the ‘accidental’ brushing of men’s hands on their bosoms.

For many fortunate people, this is a reality they cannot imagine. Yet the ‘Creepers on the Bridge’ video by Tinne Van Loon and Colette Ghunim from one of Cairo’s busiest public streets accurately depicts the harsh realities that women in Egypt face each time they step out the door, no matter the colour of their skin, their religion, or what they are wearing.

To learn more about the video, which was paired by a popular song that tells the story of the sexual harassment epidemic in Egypt, Egyptian Streets spoke with both Tinne and Colette regarding their filming of the video and the experiences they faced.

What motivated you to film this video?

Personal experience. After constantly hearing stories of both foreign and Egyptian women who face sexual harassment in Cairo, as well as walking on the street ourselves, we wanted to capture the persistent feeling of anxiety every time we walk alone.

The fact is that every time a woman walks outside, no matter what she’s wearing, a large majority of men stare, unabashedly. They scan her entire body as if she is a mere object, not  a valued human being. The high frequency of stares makes it the most common form of sexual harassment, violating women’s ability to feel safe while walking in the streets.

We are currently working on a half hour documentary about sexual harassment in Cairo, and we were looking to film the typical stares. After we secretly recorded the video and cut the parts together, we felt it was powerful enough as a stand-alone piece.

Could you tell us how the video was recorded?

Colette walked down the Kasr El-Nil bridge, secretly recording with an iPhone. She held it by her mouth with headphones plugged in and pretended to talk on the phone. She pretended to be deep in conversation, looking straight ahead of her. Whenever she felt eyes on her, she turned the phone slightly towards them. The clip was filmed in a single 5 minute walk around sunset, as people often gather on the bridge after the temperature cools down.

We made sure to record Colette beforehand in order to show her appearance. Because she is of Arab descent, she fits in with Egyptian society more easily. She wore a long skirt, a t-shirt, and a cardigan to prevent any dismissals of the footage, such as having worn something to provoke them.

As groups of men often stare together, we decided to slow down the video for viewers to view all their intimidating expressions at once.

We also recorded catcalls while filming, but because Colette was pretending to be on the phone, we couldn’t include them without hearing her speak in Arabic. Instead, we decided to pair the footage with the song “A3akes Ah At7rash La2” by Sadat & Fifty, translating to “Flirting, Yes, Harassment, No.” We thought it was particularly fitting since most young men listen to popular Electro Sh3abi music.

Were you worried you would run into any problems while filming?

Before we went to film, we practised holding the phone to make it look as unsuspicious as possible. We know that in Egypt, filming in public is risky due to political conspiracy, and we did not want to face any accusations.

How did you feel during the walk, which in the video seemed to last forever? Were you ever scared?

On that day, there was an especially large amount of men, because it was both Friday and the ending of an Ultras (football fans) gathering. All the young men were walking down the bridge in large groups, which made it even more intimidating to walk amongst them. While each of us took turns walking across the bridge alone, the groups of stares were so intimidating that we felt extremely defensive, ready to react if necessary. We both felt the same nervousness of receiving physical harassment.

What do you think you learned from this experience?

Regarding our walk on the bridge, we didn’t necessarily learn anything new. We knew before we started that we would receive looks and comments, seeing as this is a daily occurrence for women on the street. The intimidation we felt reinforced the fact that harassment exists in a variety of forms. Unfortunately, unrelenting stares are only the beginning.

When we shared the video online, it rapidly gained popularity with over 1000 views in one day. It prompted Facebook users from around the world to engage in complex discussions on sexual harassment. This helped us confirm that the issue resonates beyond just Egypt, even though it is one of the countries most affected.

Do you have any future projects related to the issue of sexual harassment in Egypt?

We are in the process of producing a half hour narrative documentary about sexual harassment in Cairo. We will weave together compelling stories, such as how one determined girl challenges her harasser, as well as how a lawyer prepares for a ground-breaking court case. Get updates about the film by liking our Facebook page! (facebook.com/benaatelnas).

We also just launched our Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign! We’re currently financing it ourselves, but to tell the stories of these women the way they deserve to be told, we are asking for your support! Check out the Kickstarter page for rewards and more!

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  • Camé Léa

    Hi guys,
    I’m Leakhena from Cambodia and i visited Egypt last year (October 2014) and i can tell that as a foreigner woman travelling alone it is REALLY REALLY hard.
    Less than 24h after i arrived in Cairo and i cried so hard, i don’t think i’ve cried that much in my life especialy when i’m travelling i love being in the new places and i enjoyed the new culture as much as i breathe in and out but it was not the case in Cairo and in Hurgada! i felt so unsafe because of “the sexual harassment” that i never and ever have this feeling in other places i’ve traveled.
    Happily one of my very good friend from Alexandria and his family are incredibly kind they’re the real Egyptian people! this helped me alot during my stay.

    Such a beautiful country and the mother of history and as now i know how to dial with them even more i still love this place so i’ll be back very soon!

  • Camé Léa

    Hi guys,
    I’m Leakhena from Cambodia and i visited Egypt last year (October 2014) and i can tell that as a foreigner woman travelling alone it is REALLY REALLY hard.
    Less than 24h after i arrived in Cairo and i cried so hard, i don’t think i’ve cried that much in my life especialy when i’m travelling i love being in the new places and i enjoyed the new culture as much as i breathe in and out but it was not the case in Cairo and in Hurgada! i felt so unsafe because of “the sexual harassment” that i never and ever have this feeling in other places i’ve traveled.
    Happily one of my very good friend from Alexandria and his family are incredibly kind they’re the real Egyptian people! this helped me alot during my stay.

    Such a beautiful country and the mother of history and as now i know how to dial with them even more i still love this place so i’ll be back very soon!

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  • Márcio Cavalcanti

    Next time hang the camera in your forehead, I’m pretty sure more “creeps” will look at you and you will raise even more money! :)))))

  • In the 1975 F for Fake, at the peak of the so-called sexual revolution, Oja Kodar is walking around the streets of Rome in a miniskirt, while Orson Welles is secretly filming real-life male passerby lasciviously staring at her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHe8QpHEG18

    Also compare to “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1XGPvbWn0A

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  • NileReginaQueen

    Ok, I have to say something that lots of people will take issue with. I don’t agree these women’s read of the video. I watched the video and I don’t see the devastating harassment that they see. I am an American Egyptian. My mother is Danish (very blonde), my father from Alexandria. I don’t look Egyptian, rather European, like skin, brown hair, tall and thin. I live and work in Cairo. I walk the streets daily. I don’t have a car. I go out often. I have been coming to Egypt since I was 15 years old. My Arabic is very broken. About the video, Yes, these men are looking at the woman but I don’t see them making any revolting faces or gestures. They are just looking. I’m from So. California. Everyone stares at each other – all the time. It is the national pass time. Take a seat in a cafe and stare at all the women and men passing by. If you took a similar video on the board walk in Santa Monica or Venice Beach or even Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, you would get the same stares from men. They all stare and they don’t try to hide it. So what gives? Why the huge campaign to make Egypt seem worse than anywhere else. As a matter of fact sexual harassment here in Egypt is 98% visual and verbal. And you can divide up the verbal into “good” and “bad” verbal – or crude and complementing. They kind of verbal abuse I get here is “your cheeks are as beautiful as a peach.” I have never had a crude word said to me. I get “Do you like calamari? Do you want to go to Alex with me to eat calamari?” However….. I have NEVER been touched in Egypt and I have been coming here for 30 years. I have always felt safe in Egypt and I still do. I take taxis home alone very often at 2am and have never had a problem. However in Paris, NYC, London, Cyprus, Italy and Los Angeles, I have had to literally fight for my life when men have grabbed me held me against my will, forcibly groped and kissed me and attempted rape. This is real sexual harassment. In my experiences in Europe and the US sexual harassment means fighting for your life. This doesn’t happen in Egypt in regular life. (Yes, there were gang rapes in Tahrir Square during revolution manifestations, but anyone living in Egypt knows that these horrendous occurrences were organized crime – politically warfare to try to intimidate women from demonstrating – these rapes were organized by political entities – they were not part of society.) In essence, as a woman I still feel safer on the streets of Cairo than LA, NYC, Paris, London or any other large city in Europe or the US. The statistics uphold this also. UN Women commissioned a study that was done nationwide in Egypt. The sample size was 1000+. The AP study that went viral had a sample size of 8-12 people/country. As an academic this is a joke and has no validity, but no one thought of looking into the AP methodology. I did. The UN Women study showed that less than 2% of women in Egypt that said they were sexually harassed reported being touched. 98% reported verbal and visual harassment. So please, don’t sensationalize sexual harassment in Egypt. Compare apples to apples. When you say sexual harassment – you must define it – and make comparisons that are equivalent. Cairo is statistically far safer than major cities in USA or Europe.

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  • seppo11

    Good project! Thanks for sharing….

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  • Loushi

    I posted this in the wrong comment box. Here it is again – –> I would not be surprised if any defense came from males in general regarding this experiment. Unless you are a female and have been subjected to such, you will have empathy and this will come across all too familiar. I relate to this. I was born and raised in the West and I rarely enjoy going to Egypt but do so to see my relatives and my father is buried there (Allah Yerhamo). Even when I was with my father who was an old humble looking man, I still got groped. Even with my older brother! No respect whatsoever! It did not seem to stop them. Worse when they are in a group and gang up on you. Now, it is a lot better when I am with my husband and possibly due to his height and build. If I have to go out in public I needed to be with a male companion. Every step I took in Egypt was daunting and I had this constant anxiety before leaving my parents apartment. I sometimes would stay in the apartment for days and hesitate to go out. If I did go out, I needed a taxi stopped directly under the apartment so I do not walk the street, even if I had a male companion with me. I feel sorry for women who have to relive this on a daily basis. The stares are frequent and when I watch this video, it is like deja-vu. I get stared foremost directly in the face and when they are close enough or get the chance they throw a comment or try and get close to whisper in my ear. The cat calls, the comments, the stares…just awful!! Even the police who are suppose to protect end up contributing to the problem. I went to the nearest traffic police when I got harassed and he saw it as an opportunity to chat me up instead of dealing with my dilemma. If these men have a sister – they would not accept it done to them but do it onto other females, the hypocrisy! This feeling I have never experienced at home or even when I had to visit other Arab countries. I do get looked at by other males however, it is a quick glance and in a respectful way. You would never catch me needing to keep turning around to see if I am being stalked or followed which happened countless of times in Egypt and in broad daylight. I would consider myself a tall attractive girl but if that is the price to pay for being born a female, it is a curse! I should not suffer for my gender that God bestowed on me. I was groped in all areas and even among family, they managed to get to me. It did not matter whether I was in Alexandria or Cairo. Mind you, when I was under the age of 6 I was sexually abused countless of times by 4 different Egyptian men – my Aunties husband and his son and the other being a neighbor and his son. Until I understood what happened to me was a violation, that is when I spoke out and it affected and haunted me for a long time.Children need to be seriously protected as they are the most vulnerable! Because of my past experience, I had been put off meeting Egyptian men within Egypt, despite my family wished for me to marry an Egyptian. I genuinely feel sorry for all the good respectful Egyptian men, but unfortunately when you have been subjected to such in Egypt, your natural perception (as a women) when you step outside would be, ‘all these men are the same’.

  • Issam Qasem

    I just wished that the video showed the girl who was being stared at while walking! If someone wears something strange, paints their face, etc. to attract attention, then that would cause blank stares! Not sure, but something to consider before judging the intention of these girls before judging the public eye!

    • stickerbrick

      It did show her, right in the beginning of the video, and the article discusses and explains the considerations you brought up for being the reason they showed her. Sir or madam, I am downvoting your comment.

  • Guest

    I just wished that the video showed the girl who was being stared at while walking! If someone wears something strange, paints their face, etc. to attract attention, then that would cause blank stares! Also, the Camera kept moving, which indicates that the camera managed, somehow, to be worn on the head/face! Not sure, but something to consider before judging the intention of these girls before judging the public eye!

  • Mohamed Hayder

    This is a particular street, in a particular area in Cairo. Where certain group of similar looking boys and girls of certain age group gather in a certain time doing a certain activity. And that activity is filmed by a person with a camera with an unknown look clothing or attitude . . . . Just saying!

  • Max Gomaa

    I personally think that this video is hilarious! These people are not creepers! People need to understand that if they do see a women who is not covering her body or hair, then they are surprised and they stare because they do not see many women like that.

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  • asdf fdsa

    I’m astounded that women, who truthfully state men don’t know what it is like to be stared at by a man, will sometimes, often in the very same sentence, completely disregard what it is like to be man stared at by another man. For some reason, female privilege I suspect, women believe that they are being treated worse and that they have the right to dictate the experience of males. Females don’t won’t to be sexually objectified and most men don’t want to be seen as objects of violence. You say men looking at you is a sign of sexual harassment but your look almost certainly conveyed a negative sentiment on them.

    • yabadabado

      shut the fuck up, get a shrink for your homoerotic issues. this is not the place for this sort of outburst. we can’t help u here

  • asdf fdsa

    OMG!!! These men, not to mention women and children, actually had the temerity to LOOK at a female OBVIOUSLY filming them on her phone while crossing a narrow bridge. Sexual harassment indeed. Sarcasm off. Seriously everyone was looking at you like WTF. Even the women and child. You were obviously recording them. It’s hard to pull off talking on the phone when it is facing directly in front of you and being turned back and forth. If a complete stranger inexplicably started filming me I’d stare intensely at them as well. If a complete stranger inexplicably started filming you, you would call it objectification and sexual harassment. So stop objectifying and sexually harassing all these poor men.

  • Mohamed Ghazlan

    CAN any one tell me what is the benifit or favour that this girl do for her country, socitey. Just trying to be destinictive and showing off by highliting the minuses of Egypt. She dreams that some foreign organaization overseas will sponsor her or some country will grant her visa or asylum as an “activist” .. huh .. How cheap girl!!

    • yabadabado

      not as cheap as your mother for having been knocked up by your dad and giving birth to yet another vile mohammed.

      • Mohamed Ghazlan

        I expressed my opinion without uttering any dirty word, while you reflected the dirty education that you’ve received from your parents and you are a good example of the culture of slums where you belong to. However, you have no photo cuz you are virtual hiding and fighting behind a screen. I hope the slums conditions will be better, people there will be more civilized. So, you can talk like human and be a little bit more than a creature.

    • stickerbrick

      This could be taken as a message to the men of her country, to take a deep look into how they want to be a part of creating public space and how they want public space to feel for women. A little empathy, a little “walk a mile in her shoes” for whatever value you want to take out of it. Try to see what you can get from this, rather than the negative.

  • mediokre

    I’m disappointed that this video naively collapses simulation and reality–the view of an iphone camera is presented to us as identical to that of a woman. Point-of-view filmmaking has enjoyed a resurgence in both documentary and Hollywood fiction in the past years (from Blair Witch to Zero Dark Thirty). That alone should remind us that seeing shouldn’t simply be believing. These filmmakers are apparently tapping into certain hip filmmaking methods and technologies without having thought about them much. On purely technical the iPhone is the most primitive POV camera possible. So much more and so much better is available.

    If the way men check women out in Egypt is indeed to look first at the face, then turn around to look at the back, it wouldn’t have been hard to capture this with a two-camera setup–for example with another person trailing Collette. That would’ve been much more illuminating, as well as more interesting to watch. And for the makers to talk about “catcalls” while this video has been given an uncreative, literal editorializing soundtrack (another Youtube convention here unreflectively adopted) is irresponsible and bizarre. Ambient sound is NOT hard to record, please.

    The argument of this piece is essentially that Egyptian men are “creepers.” However much it strikes certain people as undeniable, this is a weighty accusation. It needs to be done with more intellectual and artistic rigor than seen here.

  • Bolight

    First
    of all: To all of those who question if the stares etc. are due to the
    “phone video”, check this out where a professional production company
    did the same, and even with a man dressed as a woman – a brave man! The
    hidden camera experience is approx. 19 min into the programme, but maybe
    you should watch the entire thing…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gja05symHkk

    Second: I am “western” (blue eyes, blond hair etc.) and lived in Cairo
    for 5 years, until 2003. During the 5 years the times I was “harassed”
    (stared at not just intrigued, touched by strangers, talked dirty to
    etc.) can be counted on one hand. And each time, other Egyptians
    apologized to me for the man’s behaviour, and told him how to behave
    himself. My favourite was the mechanic in my “hood” who refused to fix a
    customer’s car, after the client gave me a very impolite offer. I still
    go to Luxor almost each year on holiday, and I do get more attention
    than I used to, but they are still polite and sometimes even sweet, I
    never feel that they are overstepping my boundaries. This is not the
    case in Cairo anymore, Cairo is looking and feels more and more like
    cities in Europe; where men feel free to approach any woman, in
    different ways, which is disturbing for any woman – whatever age,
    nationality and looks. And yes, I speak fluently Arabic, so I do
    understand what is said to me – I even studied at Cairo University
    without any issues except for the students being curious 🙂

    • mediokre

      Very useful and instructive, both the video and your message. Much more so than this simulation “documentary.”

  • Cairo Resident

    The song is also appropriate because I once had an older Egyptian man in Mounira explain to me that all is flirting (mu3kisa) — when it involves touching that is when it becomes harassment (taharoush). Clearly he and I disagreed on that poiny.

    • mediokre

      If Egyptian men think catcalling and looking is “just” flirting, then the choice of the soundtrack (which says “flirting” is okay) is not just irresponsible and lazy but actually self-contradictory.

  • Bystanding Witness

    Mohamed Gamal, mediocre, disqusplaya, ThatMediaGuy,
    Clare2940, Sacha (I hope I didn’t forget anyone) made very sensible and to the
    point comments. Congrats – my thinking too.

    I’m glad to have read comments which confirm what I’ve said
    in my initial postings. Men look everywhere – Europe, US, South America, Asia,
    Africa – to various degrees. (And so do we women – admit it or not.)

    My point was and is that this is not a unique Egyptian men
    feature and, therefore, I oppose that all Egyptian men are thrown into the same
    basket. The opposite is the case: I’ve witnessed on a number of occasions where
    men told youngster off and to “respect themselves”. We should not go overboard
    in pursuit of a cause.

    Yes – there’s a big problem in our society. Yes – it needs
    to be tackled. No – in lumping all Egyptian men together as being bad and
    drooling guys we don’t achieve anything.

    See also my reply of today to Neofluxs further down. We have
    to stop demanding and be active ourselves. Such a docu might be a good way to
    raise awareness – if that’s still needed – but then it should be done at least
    a bit professional. Catchy titles and phrases are good for the tabloid but not
    for solving problems of this magnitude.

    You all have a good and safe day!

    • mediokre

      I think what’d be useful is some historical perspective, not just what happened in the past 10 years, but the longer cultural history of sexuality and gender in Egypt, as well as their interactions with colonialism / Western morals and Islam. For a random and maybe silly example, how was masculinity expressed under British rule? Was the ideal to be a gentleman who sublimates sexual desire into chivalric behavior? And how might this antithetical behavior–blatant harassment–somehow (however indirectly and distantly) respond to that?

      • Bystanding Witness

        Hi mediocre – you raise some good points which I can’t answer; unfortunately. But the idea that under British rule is was more like a “gentleman who sublimates sexual desire into chivalric behavior” made me chuckle. This is definitely NOT what the British do in general (if their stats are anything to go by)! It’s just a perfect picture which is painted about the “British Gentleman”.
        I do know, however, how it was in Egypt some 25 years ago when I came here the first time. Nothing of what we see today took place then although sure there was some – what we call today – sexual harassment like in every society. Maybe it was not so open? Sure it was not so rampant. There are extensive studies available from sincere and serious parties as to what to attribute it to – it ranges from economical dead-lock, no perspective for a good future, deprivation in any form, etc. It’s too complex for such a forum but if you google you’ll find plenty of material.
        And yes, I’d agree with you – this discussion was informative, especially the exchange with you. What disturbed me was the unwillingness to differentiate and the willingness to brush everyone with the same paint – generalization. That has never ever solved any problem and doesn’t uphold to the standard of intellectual honesty.
        Stay safe wherever you are!

  • Marco Goure

    I think they need to do a video with a guy, too, just to see if guys would do the same towards other guys, just for comparison.

  • Semweni

    It definitely is a global issue. But within Islam, it’s not an issue that can be conquered. The Islamic philosophy is inherently encouraging of this. Egypt is THE prime example. Women had more equality and protection in Egypt than any other place in the world from ancient times up through the Coptic Christian times-it only changed when Islam came into the picture. Same with every country it has infected.

    The philosophy is simple (and also present in some versions of Christianity): it is a woman’s job to protect a man from having impure thoughts about her, or doing impure things with or to her. He can’t help it. This is inherent even in the fact that women cannot pray in front of men, they cannot do the call to prayer because they might cause sexual thoughts in the men. It is never the man’s duty.

    While the rest of the world has trouble, they progress gradually and work on these issues-but it’s not possible with Islam. You cannot fix what is inherent.

    • mediokre

      But there’re examples of moderate interpretations of Islam, e.g. Malaysia and Indonesia, no?

    • Bystanding Witness

      To Semweni – “But within Islam, it’s not an issue that can be conquered. The Islamic philosophy is inherently encouraging of this.” That’s your statement above.
      Do you think it is safe then to say that those Christians who harass and rape women and little girls (that’s the last case I’m involved in counseling) are under the influence of some evil Muslim(s)?! Get over your hang-ups and see the problem as what it is: one of pandemic dimension worldwide and it needs to be tackled at long last as it is getting worse. You should for one educate yourself about sexual harassment in non-Muslim i.e. Christian countries as well as Hindu India and you’d realize how much of a fool you made of yourself with attributing it to “Islamic philosophy”. I have nothing to do with organized religions but to call sexual harassment an “Islamic philosophy” one must either be totally ignorant about Islam or a paid for inciter. You chose which shoe fits you.

  • Cayol Blake

    I’m just wondering why the little boy at the first 10 seconds of the video is yet starring?! My bet, is that you’re extremely awkward that you caught the eyes of the 5 years old little boy!

    Wearing a t-shirt with some weird drawing or catchy quote?!

    It would’ve made it more solid if you’d every now an then show us how the hell you do look like, may be through a friend’s cam or something.

    My own opinion, you’re showcase video is a troll.

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  • Mohamed sm

    i can’t stand to live any more in this country cuz of those F****N people ,,, idiots

  • ThatsWhatHeSays

    You were clearly wearing something (i.e., LOOK AT ME, I’M FILMING) to attract this attention. Regardless of how you want to editorialize this, you did a pretty lackluster job verifying the authenticity of this experience. Better luck next time.

  • Sacha

    First let me say that I am a woman and generally considered attractive. I’m not sure I see what’s so intimidating about the looks these men are giving. People look at each other like this [in Texas] all day, every day when passing on the street. We make eye contact, say hello, and we’re on our way. Maybe I’m just used to it, but nothing about the way these guys are looking at [the camera girl] says “sexual harassment” to me or makes me feel uncomfortable.

    • yabadabado

      at least they are hot in texas, even the hillbillies over there dont compare to the ones in egypt in terms of grotesqueness.

      • Sacha

        Haha! Thanks for the chuckle

  • Fabio Bianchi

    I wonder how she was dressed like….i mean this video could be factious. And i can’t see anything oltraugeous

  • Guest

    That’s how they reacted to an average looking girl in Egypt? Damn if I walked down that street their dicks would probably be shooting straight off their bodies, bah ha ha ha ha…

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  • Emano

    Honestly, I think it’s not what she’s focusing on. The fact of the matter is when a girl is walking down the street, all these men turn to face her and keep looking. It’s not a glance, it’s a long stare, and naturally that makes us feel objectified. Maybe you can’t see the men stare at her body, but it’s more than obvious that they’re trying to make her give them her attention.
    Having lived in Jordan I can totally attest to this, I could wear anything anywhere and I would still be stared at by every guy there possibly is on the streets. Hell, even the guys in cars. People who are trying to defend the guys, we aren’t talking about the guys as people, we’re just saying that the way they stare at us make us feel like meat, and it doesn’t feel safe walking in our own country.

  • Clare2904

    Ok, you have a phone pointing upwards, moving side to side, I would sure look at you too, and I am a woman. When talking via headphones people have their phones either gripped in their hands or resting on their palm. No one looked you up and down, no one tried to touch you. Play the video at normal speed not slowed down to show a millisecond glance into a 2 second one.

  • tecumseh

    Maybe I’m missing something. I saw a bunch of teenagers make eye contact with the “girl” (woman?). “Haunting” stares? Not so much. Seemed like fairly harmless, normal eye contact anyone would make as they pass someone on a public street.

    And, given the camera angle, it appears the “girl” (woman?) was making eye contact, too. So they returned this glance.

    Doesn’t exactly send chills down my spine.

  • ISISisFromIsrael

    C’mon this whole thing is staged, she clearly contacted her local Israeli liason and had him
    instruct his agents to stand on that bridge and stare her down in order
    to make the video seem credible. This is just an attempt to make Egypt look bad

    • Faustina

      Wow. That’s a lot more complicated than “she edited it” or “she wore a tube top” but hey, enjoy your fantasies I guess?

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  • Humanitarian2012

    Can someone give those guys a highlighted Koran with a bookmark – because it clearly states this is haram! Its called “Akis”. I think the religious police are crazy – why do they go after women, like it makes a difference to go after the weak? Why do they not go after these guys. The bible also doesn’t approve, so handing out korans and bibles book marked may help shaming these infidels. Infidels are people who claim to have a religion but violate its rules in reality like these guys.

    • Bystanding Witness

      You do have a great point – except that we don’t have religious police in Egypt – LOL. That’ll be the day when the next revolution would break out – I promise you that!

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  • ISISisIsraeli

    C’mon this whole thing is staged, she clearly contacted her local Israeli liason and had him
    instruct his agents to stand on that bridge and stare her down in order
    to make the video seem credible. This is just an attempt to make Egypt look bad

    • Bystanding Witness

      How come we have trolls on this site?

      • yabadabado

        satire, you fool

  • mediokre

    I do wonder about the possible cultural differences with staring. In the US, I think these stares would read as intimidation and unfriendly for sure. But I’ve also been in places where staring is less socially taboo, and people just stare out of curiosity, or even idly for no reason, and it’s not necessarily hostile. Do men stare at other men like that also in Cairo?

  • Emily Moses

    I lived in Cairo for a year (over 10 years ago) and was grabbed and felt up just walking down the street (just going to class or walking to eat with friends) every day. Seems like this is a problem that has been ongoing in Egyptian culture for decades, it isn’t recent at all. 🙁

  • Ad de Groot

    As a European male I get similar stares when I walk around in the Middle East or China. This makes me wonder to what extent this is really sexual behaviour and not something more innocent, like curiosity. From the way the men in the video stare, I can also not detect any explicit sexual behaviour. They’re not scanning, like Western men would.

    Two questions: did Colette make deliberate eye contact with the men? It sort of seemed that she was. Or was she looking more downward? Secondly, is this an area of Cairo where women are ‘expected’ to cover up/wear a veil?

    Thanks!

    • Bystanding Witness

      There are no areas in Cairo or Egypt for that matter where women are to cover up/wear a veil except if you visit a place of worship. I cover in both – a church and a mosque out of respect.

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  • Mohamed Zaky

    They look for the camera is not harassment because they are not accustomed to this matter

  • disqusplaya

    The behavior of the men is appalling. Arrest them for thoughtcrime immediately.

  • Η φωνή της λογικής

    For some really motivated and eloquent commentators trying to diminish the problem through generalizing or diverting the attention, there are the following degrees of eye contact:
    -No eye contact, ignoring
    -Slight eye contact, mostly with the purpose of not bumping into the other person
    -Quick glance, to check out how attractive the person is
    -Slight stare, usually because the person is more attractive than you expected. Could be accompanied with a smile.
    -Staring for more than a couple of seconds, things start to get awkward. Represents many of the cases in this video. Can be annoying.
    -Staring, opening the mouth, drooling, murmuring or shouting things. Represents even more cases in this video. Is understandably very annoying.
    There are things which cannot be explained with hard facts. Lets not try to act like talentless lawyers, there is also the concept of socially acceptable or unacceptable human behavior.

    Finally, a humorous -and actually sad- clip on the subject 🙂
    https:// http://www.youtube.com /watch?v=lUJ24mblCLY

  • Ann Murphy

    I totally understand this. You really do have to live here in order to understand how this feels. They are not just looking at you as they pass, they are LOOKING at you as though you were a piece of meat.
    As a foreign woman, married to an Egyptian man, I have found this aspect of harrassmetn the most difficult to deal with. Having come from a culture that doesn’t notice women walking down the street, unless she is drop dead gorgeous, or semi-naked, it is very hard to then feel completely visible and reduced to body parts! Young Egyptian men are the most lecherous men I have ever met and I have lived in a few countries. They can be very sneaky, manipulative and abusive so it is hard work just going around the corner to the shops! I’ve had to stop going.
    Its not always safe even with my husband. Often, when we go to Luxor once a month to do our shopping, we take his friends boat, so that he can earn some money. However, this ‘friend’ started to become too familiar, brushing against my breast while poking Omar in the chest. I thought initially that it was an accident but I took a step back just in case it wasn’t! I couldn’t go back any further or I would have been in the NIle. Then he did it again! No accident.
    When I told my husband later he was angry, but instead of confronting the man, we now just take the main ferry across the Nile. And that is half of the problem. Even when men don’t like the predator behaviour of other men whom they know, they will not address the issue, for fear of offending them or of looking stupid. Fear of not being part of the male ‘gang’.

    • mediokre

      Thanks for sharing. Do you agree with the makers’ sentiment that harassment has got worse in the past years?

      • Ann Murphy

        Absolutely! TV and the internet, coupled with the tourist industry has brought influences which are destroying the fabric of Egyptian society. But, religious beliefs in the supremacy of men really doesn’t help! It reminds me of the Catholic Ireland I grew up in…and look what happened with that Catholic belief system!
        Unfortunately, this problem is not only in Egypt! It is worldwide now! The difference is that men here have no boundaries and think that they are impervious to any law! They are brought up to believe that they are the authority and therefore can do what they want. I see it in young boys from the age they can speak!

        • Carnolie

          Did you ever consider divorce and relocating back to the civilized world?

          • Ann Murphy

            What’s civilized about it? Yes I have more freedoms, but women are objectified just as much in the West! You can’t change things by running away. You have to stay and create a new way of living. Even if it takes lifetimes, which it probably will. :-p

        • yabadabado

          it seems like u traded one chauvinistic, paternalistic hell for another

        • Márcio Cavalcanti

          Oh my God! “The difference is that men here have no boundaries and think that they are impervious to any law”! MISANDRY ALERT! How can you be so ignorant to say that about all men? WE ARE NOT ALL YOUR ABUSIVE HUSBANDS!!! Many of us face the same sh*t from an abusive wife!! DOWN WITH YOUR SEXISM, OLD LADY!!!!!!! THIS NEED TO STOP!!

        • Márcio Cavalcanti

          Oh my God! “The difference is that men here have no boundaries and think that they are impervious to any law”! MISANDRY ALERT! How can you be so ignorant to say that about all men? WE ARE NOT ALL YOUR ABUSIVE HUSBANDS!!! Many of us face the same sh*t from an abusive wife!! DOWN WITH YOUR SEXISM, OLD LADY!!!!!!! THIS NEEDS TO STOP!!

          • Ann Murphy

            hahahaha!!! You know? That’s the first time I have ever been called an ‘old lady’. You must be very young!!!! And when I see men being oogled and abused on the streets of Egypt then I will stop, little boy. 🙂

    • Snobo

      Some guys in the U.S. do this. I call it the “fuck-me face.” It’s ridiculously intentional. But in a situation like this where it’s a fairly busy walkway, it’ll usually just be one or two guys. You don’t get one after another after another after another like this unless you go to a meat market nightclub or a men’s prison.

  • Aamir

    question is, how low cut was your shirt?

    • cocoacol

      As you could see, it was not low cut. And if you want me to wear a hijab and do the same, I can make another video for you to make you understand that harassment has NOTHING to do with clothes- it has to do with a patriarchal society that objectifies all women, in niqab, in hijab, or in bikinis.

      • Kissapittie

        Cocoacol, I’m from the US so please excuse the ignorance of my question… but what do they do if you confront them about it?

        • Bystanding Witness

          In most of the cases I experienced they get embarrassed as they’re not used to it. Women in general just take it and very few object. THAT has to change! As I said – walk straight and look up and stop this subdued and “miss prim” behavior. That’ll be a beginning.

          • mediokre

            Now for another experiment: what happens if a woman catcalls and harasses a man? This reminds me of a true story: a woman on the verge of being raped rescued herself by reacting aggressively and sexually to her would-be rapist, kissing him actively. The rapist was stunned, lost his drive, and allowed the woman to go. I don’t mean people should actually try this. I’m just curious what would happen if women “turned the tables.”

    • Shereen

      If your mom or sister were harrased on the street would you ask them “how low cut was your shirt?”

    • Bystanding Witness

      Aamir – even IF she wore low cut that doesn’t give anyone the right to sexually harass a women. It’s “men” (quotation marks because this is not a real man’s mind) with your mindset that are the real problem here! Go get over it!

    • yabadabado

      as low cut as your mother’s vagina when she gave birth to you. asshole.

  • Chris

    Guys, you’re being so myopic.
    What if the girl was actually attractive? bet it would have been even worse.

  • Bystanding Witness

    Oh – btw – did any of you ladies ever hear of pepper spray? Very handy … as this is not ready available in Egypt a small deodorant or eau de toilette spray does the same trick. You’d not believe how fast these imbeciles who think women are free prey learn to leave us alone – LOL!

    • Stahp

      PEPPER SPRAY! The solution to all of our problems! You, Madam, are our salvation. How did we not think of this before?!

      Are you serious? You really think the solution to walking through a crowded street where you are ogled and leered at is pepper spray? Get it together, man. When you are the passive party, walking through the street without drawing attention to yourself, then any uncalled for stares/comments are NOT because of YOU, but the active party that is ACTIVELY participating in said charade by actually doing all of the ogling! Why do women (and men!) who are harassed have to modify their own behavior when they are clearly not in the wrong? Judging from your countless other grating comments, you clearly do not understand the concept of victim-shaming.
      Take some self-defense classes, as you suggested above? Do you know what message you are sending? “Be prepared, girl. Make sure you don’t get harassed/raped, make sure it’s another girl.” Because there will ALWAYS be someone who doesn’t have the time or the means or the financials to take self defense classes. So what then? Tough luck? No, being born with a pepper spray in hand and an affinity for violence for WHEN you get harassed is NOT the answer.

      I do, however, agree with your comment regarding education being the more likely option to eradicate this phenomenon. It’s the only sensible thing you’ve said so far.

  • Bystanding Witness

    While we are so nicely bashing men … what about those women who are staring at men? Making comments about how “hot” he is? His kissy lips, his eyes … and the rest of his anatomy? Oh yes, ladies, I’ve been part of such “girl chats” too and I know how this ends up in a lot of guess work and giggles – and obvious to the man to attract his attention.
    Playing the blame game works for both sides although it is naturally more pronounced on the men’s side.

    • Neofluxs

      Physical factor.
      Men can overpower women physically, thus, a man staring a woman in a sexual way is more intimidating than a woman staring sexually at a man.
      That and the fact that says that a man would often enjoy girls talking about him than a girl would do, generally.

      From your comments, I can tell you are an educated young woman, it’s a bit sad you grew up imprinted with the Egyptian society “norm” of treating females.
      From blaming the girl outfit to actually pointing out that”hey, girls harass too, you know” (despite the fact that I have heard of about zero police report about a man complaining a girl groped his penis, or got gang rapped by a female taxi driver).

      This has been a thriving conversation. Thank you. I’m off to work now. Have a pleasant day

      • Ann Murphy

        I’m so glad you were here. A sensible person by any standards. 🙂

      • Bystanding Witness

        Re Physical factor – this is exactly why I suggested that women take a course in self-defense. So far no man has overpowered me and believe me, I have had situations in various countries. The men regretted it. But even – as a commenter said here – if a woman can’t afford a course … my father told me at a very young age how to effectively defend myself. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know elementary things. The problem here is, that nobody dares to address this kind of things with their daughters in an open way

        It’s that simple – hit with your knee as hard as you can a man’s groin, in reflex he bends over and you give him another hit with your knee in his face or wherever you can hit. That gives you time to get away. Naturally, if women prefer to be “miss prim” … then it doesn’t work.

        And no, Neofluxs, I’m an older women (63), slim and fit and grew up in the oldest democracy in Europe. But I’m married to a wonderful Egyptian man since decades, we’ve lived in various Western and Middle Eastern societies and this “harassment and boys have all rights” is not the culture he grew up with nor is it prevalent in his family. Neither was the Egyptian society so out of control when we decided to come back some 15 years ago. The norms of this society have gone steadily down and is attributable to the regime which neglected its duties as a government for the people – which it was not.

        Now it is up to us (I include myself) to re-educate our youngsters and instill certain values – Christians and Muslims alike as sexual harassers know no religion (as someone tried to insinuate here = cheap excuse). And definitely the situation is not such that women are better off staying inside their homes.

        Re your take on girls harassing men … maybe there’s no police report because the men liked it? Sarcasm … yet, isn’t this what they often say about girls not reporting to the police?!

        All in all – sexual harassment is WRONG on all accounts. Making such amateurish “documentaries” doesn’t help the cause. As other have said, the looks on the video are much more curiosity and “what is she doing” kind of behavior than harassment or drooling over themselves.

        There are a number of self-help groups established by women – why not join one of them? Or found one? Why not stand together and support each other – men and women – rather than going at and outdoing each other with stories that don’t help an iota? There are many constructive ways – making such videos with catching titles is not one of them.

        We should stop demanding all the time, cry wolf ever so often and help ourselves. In other words: stand up for ourselves. Go to the police and report and if one doesn’t have the guts to do it alone, take a lawyer, family or friends with you. I know that police were at times reluctant (I think this has changed now) to make a report – if so, ask for the commander. And don’t take a NO for an answer. If one doesn’t have the back bone to do that … giving in is only enforcing the “rightfulness” of these bullies and supports their behavior.

        You have a nice day too and sorry for not replying earlier – but the power cuts make it at times difficult.

    • canaduck

      Please, make a video where a guy is walking down the street and legions of women are staring at him and making comments about his anatomy. Go ahead.

      • Bystanding Witness

        Sorry – but in my vocabulary it is men bashing if all Egyptian men are thrown in the same basket.

        • canaduck

          Did you read the last sentence of my comment at all?

      • yabadabado

        try dongguan, china. it could work

    • yabadabado

      first world imbecile.

  • Bystanding Witness

    Well … I’ve watched this video 3x and showed it to my lady friends too. Sorry to disappoint you people who are so outraged at these men LOOKING at you – there’s nothing special about them. A man harassing a woman with the way he looks is different. If you can’t tell them apart then this is YOUR problem – not theirs.

    I get looked at in exactly this way when I move around in Egypt, in Europe or in America. Are they all sexually harassing me and I don’t realize it? C’mon. Get a life!

    Rather than complaining your heads off you’d better learn to walk determined, with your head up and your eyes straight. And maybe a little course in self-defense would help to? And learn to speak out and fight for your rights where they are not respected.

    To all those who complain bitterly that this happens only in Egypt and that Egypt has the highest rate of sexual harassment … maybe we should look at other countries like e.g. the US – there every 2 min a sexual assault takes place (http://www.rainn.org/statistics). Now don’t tell me that these assaults are all committed by Egyptian “pigs” as a commenter likes to refer to decent Egyptian men who migrated to the US!
    I don’t want to belittle the real problem of sexual harassment of both gender which is real and which needs to be addressed (done by the new Government) and which needs to be fought worldwide as well as in individual countries. But by lashing out at all men is simply plain wrong!
    Only education will bring sustainable success – until then we should stay on the floor of reality, learn self-defense and stop whining and blowing things out of proportion.
    And yes – I’m a woman too, dress in normal western clothes and I know perfectly well what I’m talking about. And no – I do not believe that it should matter what we women wear. Nobody has the right to touch or harass me.
    But having said that … in the same context … maybe we woman should do our part and stop wiggling our butts extensively, wearing push-up bras and clothes which are 1-2 sizes too small? Other than looking cheap it also looks ridiculous – especially when the finishing of the outfit is topped by wearing the hijab!
    Now you can dissect me – but this needed to be said too.

    • Shereen

      Really?! Walking determined with my head up and eyes straight?!?!??
      And your statistics, how does that help exactly when you point out that sexual harassment happens in other countries? so we should be happy with what we have because it’s a lot worse In other places?
      So two girls were gang raped and hung from a tree in India we should thank god that that does not happen
      The website is Egyptianstreets.com we are talking about Egypt
      Lovely conversation we had but now I realize that you are part of the problem, people who give excuses

      • Bystanding Witness

        Shereen – maybe you should try to read and comprehend what I’ve said before going on attack mode? It would help tremendously.

    • yabadabado

      u must be one of those post menopausal women who would die for more stares. i used to live with one. my condolences to your condition.

  • Neofluxs

    I can barely imagine how tough this is for girls,
    Heck, I am a 23 years old guy and I was intimidated by some of the stares up there

    • Bystanding Witness

      Would you care to elaborate at which time frame of the video you got “intimidated”? Would be interesting …

      • Neofluxs

        “‘Some’ of the stares” suggest more than one
        Particularly those that had dropped jaws and semi-drooling all over themselves

        • Bystanding Witness

          Fine – then it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to point them out, should it?

          • Neofluxs

            I just did?

          • PixelFly

            0:10, 0:15, 0:20, 0:25, 0:40, 0:50, 0:57, 1:01, 1:05, 1:12, 1:18

            Hope you’re satisfied now!

          • User_Franzl

            and now?

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  • Mira

    So you walk and record people coming from the other direction, claiming they sexually harassed you !! I see !

    • Ann Murphy

      You obviously didn’t read the article or you would have seen that she was also catcalled etc but they couldn’t put it in the film because she was talking on the phone.
      You obviously don’t live in Egypt either! I never go out of my house without my husband for exactly the same reason and I have also experienced sexual harassment while walking in the streets. I cannot step outside of my home.

      And hasn’t anyone ever told you that sarcasm is the lowest, and least intelligent, form of humor!

      • tecumseh

        sarcasm is the lowest form of humor? really? Lower than bathroom jokes? race jokes? Sex jokes?

        Mark Twain made prolific use of sarcasm. I’m gonna say he wins the debate.

        • Ann Murphy

          Fair enough, who can argue with Mark Twain!

      • mediokre

        Ann, you seem traumatized by Egypt. I’ve observed similar bunker mentalities in foreigners in China, where every little negative experience and every would-be aggressor would trigger immense fury and generalized hatred of an entire country, as well as condemnation of anyone who would try to defend it (however reasonably). I’ve even been at that point myself. But rationally I know it’s not right to take the accumulated injustice I’ve felt out on any particular individual or instance of it. Have you considered leaving Egypt? Wouldn’t that be easiest?

        • Ann Murphy

          I’m not traumatized by it. I love aspects of Egypt, but it is interesting that you see my experience as a Bunker mentality. Come and live here and you will understand it better. There are some good people here but the majority are witless. Even the Egyptian people themselves don’t trust each other. Plus these, ‘little negative experiences’ are cumulative, and often the ‘would-be aggressors’ are actually aggressors. You cannot take anything for granted. I trusted everyone when I first came here, thinking htat people were pretty much the same no matter where you lived. However, I have learned the hard way, by being ripped off, harassed, sexually and in other ways, etc. But there are things you can do here that you cannot do in the west, such as keep chickens in your backyard without bureaucracy getting in the way, you can keep animals too, which we do.
          So there are bad things here but there are good reasons to be here too. I wouldn’t return to the West again, but I will create a better life here, in any which way I can.

          • mediokre

            Thank you. That wasn’t a facetious question. I was genuinely interested in your reasons in staying. Of course we all live with certain tensions, even contradictions in our lives. I haven’t been to Egypt, and I’m a man, so on some level I’d never truly understand your experience. But I can try based on my own experiences of being in place that felt oppressive or even threatening to my sheer existence — being nonwhite in certain parts of the countries, particularly Russia (despite being European by nationality), being Chinese-looking in Xinjiang (where men and children openly cursed me for being a member of the perceived colonizing force), being with my girlfriend there and in rural Japan (where I was alternatively deemed a race traitor and discrminated against for being non-Japanese), etc. etc. And this was of course in spite of my love for some of these places.

            By “every little negative experience” I didn’t mean to downplay it. I think for me the problem is primarily how to remain rational and fair against my emotions, and how not subject a single person to precisely the cumulative anger I felt and to the collective guilt of a society. In my experience, it’s actually worse to realize that I have “descended to their level” or to have become spiteful to point of inhumanity, more than the negative experience itself.

            None of my experiences rises to the level of sexual harassment in Egypt, I think. But I also don’t think other people, men even, cannot possibly relate to your plight. So thanks for giving it an authentic account. That’s all that we can ask for in the end.

          • yabadabado

            rationality is overrated. we are what we experience. stop invalidating yours. how you were supposed to be treated = common sense, universally.. the countries you visited didn’t abide by the humanist outlook. this is not about ethnocentrism, it’s about decency and the accordance of basic respect

          • mediokre

            i was pretending dude. i normally don’t punctuate or capitalize either. we can have a discreet relationship.

  • Mohamed Gamal

    First of all sexual harassment is a crime and should be severely punished… HOWEVER, many guys in the video are just giving a surprised look to a girl who’s filming them with a mobile for an unknown reason (to them) without their consent. And sorry to disappoint you but, many alleged “stares” in the video are completely normal.

    • Neofluxs

      You missed the part where they said she wasn’t recording them, she pretended to be on the phone, didnt you?

      • Bystanding Witness

        Now go try that and come back to report – this is nonsense. Everyone can see and realize that the cam of a mobile is on him. These shots would not have been possible in this way. Simple.

        • Neofluxs

          Hate to disappoint you, but I am an amateur iPhone photographer, so yeah, I take a lot of pictures using my iPhone and have gotten a total of an astounding ZERO looks like these, which you claim are because:”OMG, iPhone taking pics of us”
          And again, you are judging based on knowing, and seeing, that it was recording a video. To any other passerby, she is just talking on the phone and having problem with her signal.
          I am sure you saw that happen at least once before on the street, no?

          • cocoacol

            Hi, I am Colette, the one who was recording. I was walking with the iphone next to my mouth, pretending to be talking the entire walk using headphones. They were looking at my face, which is why they seem to be looking into the camera. If you don’t want to believe it, there’s nothing more I can do except post another video with someone recording me to prove what I was doing.

          • disqusplaya

            With all due respect this is very poorly done:
            * I see at least one child and one woman look at you
            * Not a single person calls you out or gestures to their friends to look
            * Everyone is making eye contact with you, not looking at your body
            * Frequent editing gives cause for suspicion (what happened in the intervening 4 minutes? Nothing)
            * Provocative title (‘haunting’) and description (‘creepers’) – credibility fail.

            So the evidence I have to say is weaksauce.

            We knew before we started that we would receive looks and comments

            This sums it up nicely. I went out to make a video of cute puppies and what did I find? What I found is 100% of puppies are cute!!

            Combining all this it feels like a self promotional clickbait article for your upcoming documentary. Which is unfortunate, because my sense is there are real problems that exist. But this video doesn’t show it at all. I look forward to a more professional and journalistic approach next time.

          • mediokre

            I’m afraid I agree mostly with this assessment (which, needless to say, is not to diminish the actual problem of harassment). If you put an iphone with the camera facing outwards, you look unusual and attract attention. Who talks on an iphone like that? And the above comment is right on point: if they objectified you, they’d be scanning your body rather than just giving you eye contact. This video is very unsophisticated technically and intellectually, and marketed with sensationalism. I’d suggest re-doing it with a better hidden camera, perhaps a chest-mounted gopro. And please don’t give us a heavyhanded soundtrack: just give us the original environmental sound. You say you want to make a documentary, so make one instead of a music video. The issue is serious so take it seriously.

            It’d also be very helpful to do a comparison with Tinne doing the filming. And then an Egyptian and a foreign MAN doing it.

          • yabadabado

            butthurt

          • mediokre

            There’s a lot you can do. Try it again with a real hidden camera, and have Tinne and other people do the same. This one video is too immature technically and intellectually.

          • Ann Murphy

            I find your video completely accurate! For people who do not have to face this, every time they walk down the street, then explaining anything to them is pointless. Its trying to explain the effects of abuse on someone who has never experienced it, or someone who has experienced it, but is in denial of it!
            Collette, make a longer movie and keep up the good work.
            I have to say that, as I watched it, I felt like I was surrounded by predators! I asked my Egyptian Husband to watch it and to describe how he felt. He said he felt as though he were naked and everyone was watching him. It made him feel uncomfortable. He comes with me when we go out together in Luxor and even then men will harrass me. He finds it embarrassing and reacts exactly the same way I used to, by pretending it didn’t happen. He just doesn’t know how to deal with it if it is a friend of his. I, on the other hand, deal with it instantly now, and if I am touched by a strange man, in a shop say, I respond aggressively! I’m 52…not a younger woman and they don’t care. A female body is a female body, no matter what age ‘it’ is.
            Keep going, it is only women like you, and the men who support you, who will change anything. Don’t let the detractors stop you. 🙂

          • mediokre

            Ann, it’s obvious that this video resonates with many women’s actual experience of being in Egypt, and that’d be very well if this were a fictional piece, or some other kind of simulation. But as a “documentary” it is irresponsible and poorly done–due to problems in its methods and marketing as stated above. I don’t need to belabor this point. Just consider all those cases of photographs doctored by journalists to be more true to the “spirit” of a scene. The truth is important, but the means to get to it is equally important.

            I do hope that this sensationalist rhetoric (creeps, haunting) is really just a ploy to get people to watch the longform version, which I again hope is a bit more sophisticated and sensitive.

          • mrsnj20

            Almost any woman who has been to Egypt can tell you the same thing has happened to them- unless they are with a man. I am appalled at the people who try to downplay it and i suspect they wouldn’t hesitate to look at a woman like that. Men look at women like they have never seen one in their lives and unfortunately, the economic problems which prevent men from finding work and in turn getting married are partially to blame. There is I excuse though for acting like an animal.

          • mediokre

            Nobody is trying to downplay the actual problem, much less saying it’s okay to “act like an animal.” We’re critiquing this video as a documentary, which is a form of communication with its own ethics and rules. What if the makers told you (hypothetically) that all those men were told in advance to look at the iphone? Would you then still say that the video is truthful (even if it is true to the “spirit” of your experience)? In fact, I’d say because the problem is so real, it’s even more important we represent it responsibly. And it’s not like it would’ve hard to do better. The iphone-on-face strategy is so primitive. There’re so many better hidden cameras now. The makers went out looking to simulate the experience of being a woman in Egypt, but the way they did it makes it unclear whether the “creeps” are staring because Collette is a woman, or because she is acting strangely or otherwise attracting attention.

          • yabadabado

            uh what abt the whole chauvinistic attitude abt not being to stand a self-sufficent wife/one that earns more/has a better job? and the value attached to purity/virginity? since when has ‘economic downturn’ kept men from getting laid? heck, in most muslim countries men fucking other men is the de facto bachelor way of life. god forbid Westerners call it homosexual

          • Matthew Berlanti

            Oh my god…they were looking at your face. The horror.

          • yabadabado

            u wud like that won’t u? on fact the only way ull get to feel the same way is if u were tall, good looking, earning big $$ . alternatively, there are strip clubs to cater to the more unfortunate

          • mediokre

            I’d like a photo of how she held her phone. If I recognize a camera pointing at me, I’m also liable to look at it. Surreptitiously recording a video is usually more obvious than the recorder realizes. It’s also possible Collette is a very poor actress or stands out in other ways (anyone who’s been in a foreign country with a similar ethnic makeup knows people can still very easily tell you’re foreign from dress and demeanor)

            I think this would be a lot more illustrative if they used a truly hidden camera, if they had comparatives done by Tinne and men, and if they didn’t have the manipulative soundtrack. Like someone said below, none of the men scanned her body, which is significant. The eye contact seen can be harassing and misogynist, but it can also be curious or suspicious.

      • Mohamed Gamal

        I didn’t miss that part at all… however, raising the mobile to her face and pretending she’s speaking while pointing the mobile to the guys face! It’s creepy, and probably I would’ve looked at her my friend…
        The experimental design of this video is very poor and could’ve been better! Hidden cam was the best option.
        Also

        If you read the rest of comments you’ll find something interesting:

        1- Foreigner MALES get the these alleged “stares” in the video while they walk in the streets of Egypt! Are they being sexually harassed?!

        2- Some foreigners have also said that this “stares” are normal in their country…

        There’s a strong argument we can’t disregard, the girl was not given scanning look to her body parts…
        I’m not denying that sexual harassment exists in Egypt… nothing could be further from the truth, I’m simply pointing to the fact that this video is very subjective and does not help the cause at all!

    • ThatMediaGuy

      I totally agree with this comment. In fact they all looked like they were looking at the same spot and not various parts of the body (as people would do when they wanna strip the girl naked in their eyes). At some point I thought she had something on her shirt that attracted the eyes or she was doing something unusual.

      I get the point of the video but it could be done in a better way and the internet/people always need proof of the girl in the process. Try doing it with someone filming her as she does it a 3rd point of view.

      You just shamed many people who could be normal, to add on, without their consent. Please focus on perfecting a project before it works against you and then publish it.

      • Ann Murphy

        Actually you don’t understand how men look at women here. Their first visual contact is with the woman’s face. It is only when the woman has walked past the guy that, if he liked her face, will then generally look behind him, at her ass. Remember that the majority of women here only have their face uncovered and men here tend to be ‘skin-obsessed’. Any exposed skin on face, neck or chest, will be looked at first.
        So they should be shamed!!!

        • mediokre

          That is useful information. I have seen similar behavior in Xinjiang in China. It seems that the men were very drawn to my girlfriend’s exposed hair and face, more so than her body.

          • yabadabado

            don’t forget feet

      • Kingros

        I agree with what Ann says. Also, I have to say that ‘sexual harassment’ in Egypt has a lot more to do with power and control than eroticism, so it is a very particular kind of look that Egyptian males give you. I agree that these reactions could be interpreted in different ways by people who aren’t familiar with the streets of Egypt, but to me, I instantly recognised it as THAT look. Aggression, superiority, absolute objectification. Very intimidating.

    • Ann Murphy

      Read the article!!! They didn’t know she was filming Mohamed! But it doesn’t surprise me that you would see it that way!!! They might be normal to you, but that doesn’t make it right! You are, after all, male and Egyptian?

      • Mohamed Gamal

        Ann, actually I’ve read the article 2 times before posting.
        My comment was about the poor experimental design behind this video. As I’ve already stated above (have u read what I wrote?), I’m not denying sexual harassment, it exists and it’s a crime that should be punished with no mercy!
        However, this video would’ve been so much better if it was made with a hidden cam… this video is very amateurish and weakens the cause, and I’ve seen better videos. It opens the door to a lot of “what if”s… what if the flash light of the mobile was on, and they were looking at it? etc, etc etc
        Finally, whether it surprises you or not, and I don’t really much care by the way, I’m proud to be an Egyptian male who fights against sexual harassment and wants to cease to exist for good…

      • mediokre

        Don’t get ad hominem. Just because Mohamed is male and Egyptian (apparently) doesn’t make him automatically guilty of the same, or render his opinion on this video invalid.

        • Ann Murphy

          I agree, however, it is typical of male attitudes here. I never said he didn’t have the right to his opinion, I disagreed with him and pointed something out that felt obvious to me.

          • mediokre

            Disagreement was of course fine–until you turned the subject into his being male and Egyptian.

        • yabadabado

          who are you trying to kid, really. what are you, like in a discreet m2m relationship with mohammed. cut it out already

          • mediokre

            ah, the brooklyn e-marxist tells it like it is with well-practiced thumbs.

      • Loushi

        I would not be surprised if any defense came from males in general. Unless you are a female and have been subjected to such, you will have empathy and this will come across all too familiar. I relate to this. I was born and raised in the West and I rarely enjoy going to Egypt but do so to see my relatives and my father is buried there (Allah Yerhamo). Even when I was with my father who was an old humble looking man, I still got groped. Even with my older brother! No respect whatsoever! It did not seem to stop them. Worse when they are in a group and gang up on you. Now, it is a lot better when I am with my husband and possibly due to his height and build. If I have to go out in public I needed to be with a male companion. Every step I took in Egypt was daunting and I had this constant anxiety before leaving my parents apartment. I sometimes would stay in the apartment for days and hesitate to go out. If I did go out, I needed a taxi stopped directly under the apartment so I do not walk the street, even if I had a male companion with me. I feel sorry for women who have to relive this on a daily basis. The stares are frequent and when I watch this video, it is like deja-vu. I get stared foremost directly in the face and when they are close enough or get the chance they
        throw a comment or try and get close to whisper in my ear. The cat calls, the comments, the stares…just awful!! Even the police who are suppose to protect end up contributing to the problem. I went to the nearest traffic police when I got harassed and he saw it as an opportunity to chat me up instead of dealing with my dilemma. If these men have a sister – they would not accept it done to them but do it onto other females, the hypocrisy! This feeling I have never experienced at home or even when I had to visit other Arab countries. I do get looked at by other males however, it is a quick glance and in a respectful way. You would never catch me needing to keep turning around to see if I am being stalked or followed which happened countless of times in Egypt and in broad daylight. I would consider myself a tall attractive girl but if that is the price to pay for being born a female, it is a curse! I should not suffer for my gender that God bestowed on me. I was groped in all areas and even among family, they managed to get to me. It did not matter whether I was in Alexandria or Cairo. Mind you, when I was under the age of 6 I was sexually abused countless of times by 4 different Egyptian men – my Aunties husband and his son and the other being a neighbor and his son. Until I understood what happened to me was a violation, that is when I spoke out and it affected and haunted me for a long time.Children need to be seriously protected as they are the most vulnerable! Because of my past experience, I had been put off meeting Egyptian men within Egypt, despite my family wished for me to marry an Egyptian. I genuinely feel sorry for all the good respectful Egyptian men, but unfortunately when you have been subjected to such in Egypt, your natural perception (as a women) when you step outside would be, ‘all these men are the same’.

    • Ingo Grimm

      exactly what i mean

    • Snobo

      Stop gawking at women.

    • yabadabado

      typical muslim pig response. having that sort of face doesnt help either *mohammed*

      • Mohamed Gamal

        lol, get a life loser

  • Ingo Grimm

    i dont see anything special, here in Paris its the same, we look in the face when we walk because we walk in the street to see the people…

    • Sarah

      À Paris c’est aussi pire. En tant que femme, on peut pas marcher sans se faire draguer, harceler, insulter, crier après, suivi, ou pire. Je suis allée à Paris une fois dans ma vie (je suis québécoise) pour une période de 3 semaines et j’y suis jamais retourné. Les hommes ne savent pas se comporter de façon civilisé envers les femmes. Je ne suis pas un objet. Je suis une personne.

    • mrsnj20

      I didn’t see anyone doing that in Paris. They look at people but not stare them down like they are rabid dogs.

    • AEM

      Really, in Paris? Do others agree? I’m surprised, having only been there in the dead of winter for a few days.

      • Ciphero

        It’s definitely not the same as this in Paris, at least in the 1e-12e area. In Parisian culture it is rude to stare at strangers, as personal space and social courtesy is extremely important. You will still get men who whistle and try to approach women, but in general Parisians do not stare like hungry animals and it’s nowhere as bad.

    • AceRevo

      Are you serious?! Meeting other peoples faces and STARRING at someone is not the same thing and cant be compared.. In fact, starring at someone while they are aware of you is kinda disrespectful, you better know the guy. And if you really fell in love by first sight, you better make a move! Starring at people like some fkn monkey in a cage may be by far not comfortable by the one beeing starred at…
      Im kinda impressed that some of them didnt tripp and fell over!

      If I’d seen eyeballs like that on me, lol… smh..

      • Ingo Grimm

        some are starring but some only look to your face…i mean this is normal in big cities, because they try to catch a smile from good looking girls;-)

        • AceRevo

          I bet youre still trying to catch a smile ;))))

        • Carnolie

          go away, you creep! this is absolutely not the place to compliment a woman on her looks!

        • pinkkdaisy

          Wouldn’t smiles catch women’s smiles more effectively than creepy starting?

          • Márcio Cavalcanti

            That’s what feminists call “creepy smile”. The thing is: if you are a man and do anything, you are just wrong, evil and a tool of the patriarchy (irony intended).

  • Mohamed Anwer

    it’s not a defense for the starring but have you tried that experience in another country ? men are the same yes we stare you didn’t like it because you didn’t like the guy who stares if you liked him or he was “MOZ :D” it’s not starring it’s love from first sight !

    • Shereen

      What are you talking about? Not all men are the same. I travel ALOT because of my job and I’ve NEVER experienced what I’ve experienced in Egypt Never! Sure there are perverts all around the world but Egypt it literally became 90% of the male population. Men don’t just stare it’s not a fact it’s a choice you CHOOSE to stare

      • Mohamed Anwer

        to be clear i am not supporting harassment just to be clear , starring on another hand it’s common vise verse , and yes starring is choice but if i like girl in street and i couldn’t help it just to stare because i don’t know a way for approaching a girl without consider harassment , i know i sound wired , any one get my point ?

        • Shereen

          So you make her feel uncomfortable instead? What do you expect when you stare at her? If you want to approach her creeping her out is not the way to go. I get the point you are trying to make but I just don’t understand the logic.

          • Mohamed Anwer

            i don’t know really i am suck about approaching to women in general 😀 but any way that’s exactly the point if the guy you like or it’s the one in your head it wouldn’t consider creeping stare then . in conclusion staring not that big of a deal

          • Shereen

            It would be just as creepy if I was staring at a man the way the men in the video were staring
            If you want to talk to a girl I’m sure making her want to pepper spray you is not the way to go

          • Mohamed Anwer

            apparently i didn’t demonstrate my point clear , for an ex there is A : handsome tall guy just the way you like , B: fat short guy with (cresh ) , C: there is you beautiful young girl walks into some place whatever it’s .. as we men it’s nature to be attracted to beautiful women so both A and B will stare at you try to figure away to approach and you when notice that B is staring you will think what a creepy guy but when you notice A starring you will look back and wouldn’t a cross your mind that maybe he is really creepy , my point is starring or looking it’s normal unless it evolve to some sort of harassment , and piece of advise i think we need to spot the light for real harassment like touching and saying bad words than just looking !

          • Mohamed Anwer

            and also read the other comments from other countries

    • Zaki Youssef

      Stop trivialising sexual harassment in Egypt. Its like nowhere else, maybe except India. Whenever I’ve told a woman or girl that Im from Egypt, the first thing they’ll comment on (if they’ve been there) is the sexual harassment – the catcalling and so on! I’ve walked with my cousins or female friends in Cairo, and its insane. No one cares, they’ll just be like “eh el gamal dah kilo

      • Mohamed Anwer

        i am not justifying harassment or any abuse to women , just to make that clear , staring in another hand is common vise versa if there is abeatiful man women will stare too that’s my point , and yes egypt consider danger for harassment and it’s not acceptable

      • Bystanding Witness

        You know why all those comments? Because the mass media in the West has nothing else to do than to highlight this on regular intervals. If they would report as regular on the fact that in India every one hour a female gets killed … but no, this is nobody’s concern. All focus is on Egypt. Go ask yourself why? Also have a look at the link I posted in my initial posting – did you ever read about it in the media? Every 2 minutes a sexual assault occurs in the US!! No problem with that because … hey! let’s trash Egypt!! Much more rewarding …

        • Zaki Youssef

          Sorry but you completely lost me. What does the mass media in the West have to do with anything? Im talking about walking the streets of Cairo, not reading an article in Europe. Im talking about the fact that more or less every girl I know, who’s been to or lived in Egypt, has experienced sexual harassment. If you haven’t, well then good for you. But if you live or have lived in Egypt and you seriously try to tell me that sexual harassment isn’t a problem, then you’re from another planet. And stop with the victimised mentality; “Oh its just because we’re Egyptians they blame us”- nah its not, its cause its a huge problem, and the problem doesn’t become smaller just cause other places are shit as well. Thats just whataboutery at its worst.

        • Zaki Youssef

          And now Ive looked through the comments and it seems like you use an awful lot of time trying to down tone the gravity of the problem. Im not sure why anyone would use that much time talking about other problems or saying obvious things like “not all men are bastards”? Whats your purpose? Do you think that posting a video such as this is a bigger problem than women being sexually harassed?

        • Shereen

          What does western media have to do with it? I’m talking from my experience! I’m talking about people visiting Egypt and coming back with stories about how they were harassed by idiots on the street
          What’s up with Egyptians and that US is after us thing, every problem we have we tend to blame the US.
          Did the US have a man touch me on the street?
          It’s so amazing the theories Egyptians come up with just so they don’t actually stand up and admit that they have a problem

          • Bystanding Witness

            Geez! How did I overlook your line about “It’s so amazing the theories Egyptians come up with …”. You make a lot of assumptions, Shereen, and almost all are wrong. Not everyone is Egyptian who stands up for fair reporting on what’s going on in Egypt’s society – I for one am European, living here since a number of year, and I just can’t stand those Egyptians who have nothing good anymore to say about this beautiful country and its people because it’s the fashionable thing of the day. There are plenty of things wrong here and they need to be solved but the way many people (Egyptians) go about it today doesn’t help an iota. As the saying goes: be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. By trashing everything and all Egyptian doesn’t solve anything.

  • Mohammad A Badawi

    okay, this wasn’t fair when u weren’t showing us yourself and what you were doing…. you may walked with a huge sign over your head with STARE PLEASE, i know it is tough to be a girl walking in crowded places, but this is not the way to show it with a lot of people faces clearly shown and you don’t have a real evidence !!!

    • Neofluxs

      They did show you what she was wearing before the video.
      And they did say she pretended to be on the phone.

    • yabadabado

      go back to your porn

  • Jillian Theriault

    You did a great thing here, Colette and Tinne. As I watched the video, I actually started to feel sick, deep in my stomach. I lived in Cairo for 4 years, and I can fully attest to the reality of this video. As I foreigner, I experienced the same kind of thing. What is shocking about this treatment and is shown in the video, is that even young boys are doing this, having learned the behaviour from other men. Thank you for giving this first-person view to everyone.

    • Brock’s Revolutionary 2014

      As an Egyptian I apologize to you. I don’t know what to say, I’m not going to tell you that not everybody here is like this because actually the MAJORITY are!. Even sometimes when I see foreigner ladies I feel like I need to approach them and ask in all seriousness. “What the hell are you doing here?!”. Our streets might be ones of the unsafest places for women on earth! (even for guys though lately, some thugs came up to me and took my phone 3 years ago). I know most societies have their own f*** ups, but ours have exceeded them all in safety. And I’ve got to mention, we weren’t like this like 30-35 years ago. Everything changed. Especially since the 2011 revolution. And only God knows what’s next!. Sorry again for the CREEPY experiment. Wish you a good day 🙂
      (Oh… My name is a little weird ’cause I use this account for a wrestling website LOL)

      • Brock Lesnar is the reason I boycotted WWE this year. Hated the fact that they made him win at WrestleMania and break the streak :c

      • Jillian Theriault

        Thanks for the apology! It’s a step. I do know that it’s not all of the men in Egypt… I found a fantastic one to marry!
        I was lucky to live in Egypt before the 2011 Revolution, and I agree with you. I felt safe on the streets before then. It got steadily worse after that. I pray that Egypt finds its way to the democracy and freedoms you so rightly deserve. It’s a beautiful country… It will always be my second home.

    • User_Franzl

      And thats when I thought because of sharia conform behaviour of women (i.e. wearing scarfs or event the burka) would make a besser living for bot sides.

      • cmill

        why should women cover themselves because men can’t learn to treat them with respect? maybe men should cover their eyes if they can’t stop themselves staring. it’s embarrassing when adult men behave like this.

        • Mohamed Hayder

          Yes, the video is shocking, and things are really disgusting now in Egypt in most public places. And that makes you mad .. well, I am really bothered by what I just saw too! But I don’t like it when responsibility is thrown on a single side, sex, group or a religion.

          I mean, women are part of the equation too don’t you think! We are dealing with a large crowded community that’s morally declining. A community where girls in such streets play the same sick game . . . But does that mean that wearing decently (acc. to that particular community’s standards) or covering heads is BAD! … maybe it’s not the real solution, but it helps.

          Plus, women are not obliged wear scarfs/hijab, they choose to do it willingly, it partially protects them and they are happy and proud about it. You may ask women who do wear hijab yourself.

          AND, what you saw in the video is exactly the opposite of Islamic teachings. Here are two verses of Quran:

          “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That will make for greater purity for them. And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” 24:30

          “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof …” 24:31

          In the end I totally agree with you, Egypt needs a generation or two of rehabilitation to both men and women.

        • Abu Fatimah

          It is similar to saying, “why should I lock my door if the men can’t stop stealing. They should stop being theives and I shall sleep with my house door open”

          • pinkkdaisy

            firstly, I think locking your house is only a preventative measure, and
            not a solution if an area is really unsafe- ultimately you have to cure
            the causes of crime- which is often poverty. If you provide for the
            material and emotional needs of little boys and girls they will not grow
            up to burgle houses.

            Secondly, locking up your house does not
            create a barrier between one person or another or affect a person’s
            choice and freedom to expresss- for me covering myself would limit my
            self-expression and be very uncofmortable in hot weather. Also, both
            men and women have to lock their house to protect themselves from both
            men and women who might steal. The only cure to crime is to address what makes people into criminals.

            It’s very telling that you compare women to property and assume only men are criminals…

            What an awful world you live in where men are like thieves who can’t control themselves! My world is not like that.

  • Naseema

    This is so sad. I lived in Egypt for 5 years and while I do acknowledge women experience harassment, generally speaking people were always friendly and helpful. Seems like a lot has changed over the past few years.

    • Bystanding Witness

      The majority of the people is still the same. What has changed is that the political and economic insecurity brings out the negative part more visible. That’s all. It’s a normal phenomenon in societies which undergo changes.

  • Shelly

    What happens if you tell them to quit staring? Is that risking your life?

    • Η φωνή της λογικής

      I strongly believe that stopping and telling everyone to quit staring (in this video for example) would be really impractical and would possibly force even more harassement.

      • cocoacol

        Haha, exactly- the number of stares I received in this 5-minute walk would turn it into a half hour walk …

    • Shereen

      You would actually be risking your life, they get angry. And when you are hospitalized after being Gang raped or beaten… Guess what it’s your fault you wore JEANS. Actually there were incidents where women were covered head to toe and our lovely men exposed their faces because they were “curious”. I’m not saying all of them are like that but most of them are, most men in Egypt are pigs not men

      • Bystanding Witness

        Shireen – while you seem to have had your share of bad experience I don’t think it is appropriate to throw all Egyptian men in the same basket. You wouldn’t like it if this would be done with us women – or would you? Those incidents you’re talking about are the exceptions and this is exactly why they got widely publicized and condemned.
        And your remark about risking your life … sorry – but you go over the top here. I’ve had a few incidents when I asked the “starer” – fi haga? They got embarrassed and a few even apologized.

        • Shereen

          I did not say that all of them are like that, I clearly ended my comment with “I’m not saying all of them are like that but most of them are”. My husband is an Egyptian man and he is an Increadible human being. I’m glad that you did not have to go through what some of us Had to go through.
          They are not the exceptions these are the incidents that were big enough to actually make the news.
          Good for you that your harassers were very nice people?
          But that’s rarely the case go walk in “wist el ballad” and let me know how it goes

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Mohamed Khairat is the Founder and Chief Editor of Egyptian Streets.

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