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#MeToo: Egypt Joins The Global Trend To Speak Up About Sexual Abuse

#MeToo: Egypt Joins The Global Trend To Speak Up About Sexual Abuse

Egyptian women celebrate the news of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who handed control of the country to the military, at night in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt Friday, February 11, 2011. Photo: Tara Todras-Whitehill, AP

Egyptians have joined the global hashtag #MeToo that exposes the scale of sexual harassment, that both men and women are subject to, to encourage people to come forward and speak up about their experiences with sexual abuse.

On this hashtag, people are sharing their stories of sexual harassment and incidents of sexual assaults they have been subject to, in a bid to raise awareness about the rate of people who have to deal with sexual abuse.

The hashtag was used by thousands of social media users after actress Alyssa Milano had asked victims of sexual assaults to interact with her to confirm on her solidarity with them.

Thousands of Egypt’s women have decided to come forward and narrate their stories with sexual harassment, and a small percentage of men also joined.

Activist Mona Seif took to her Facebook page and wrote, “I don’t know of any female friend of mine in Egypt who have not been a victim of sexual harassment, and definitely #MeToo.”

She went on to say, “I was 9 years old when some stranger walking [down] the street decided to carry me, touch me and force a kiss on me. I had a younger cousin who started yelling at kicking at him, it was midday, there was a cafe and video store with people in it and nobody in it moved to stop him. That was my introduction to how cruel people and streets could be to girls. Some weeks are better than some, but some days really break you and it takes a lot of mending strength to face the streets again.”

The hashtag surfaced in light of the allegations of sexual assaults and rape against Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood producer. Dozens of American actresses and figures have lately spoken up against him and admitted that he had sexually abused them, including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow. Weinstein, however, denies these allegations and said that all his sexual relations were consensual.

Women and men from around the globe have been writing and sharing their stories since Sunday night.”If anyone who has been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

Several prominent actors and singers joined the hashtag, including Lady Gaga and Anna Paquin.

In a survey conducted earlier this year by UN women and Promundo, a Brazilian organization campaigning for gender equality, it was revealed that about 43 percent of men in Egypt believe that women like the attention and they admire being sexually harassed.

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