Egyptian authorities announced on Wednesday night that they are investigating the circumstances surrounding a video depicting mass sexual assault of an Egyptian woman by a large group of men.
According to local reports, police arrested 17 young men suspected of being in the place at the time of the incident. They also questioned more than 20 people in the same area.
The video, which went viral in Egypt, appeared to show an unidentified woman being assaulted by a number of men in public at night.
A number of local media outlets, including El Balad, claim that the video took place on New Year’s Day after a woman exited a store, and then a mob of young men assaulted her and ripped her clothes apart.
The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights called for the presence of more police in the streets to ensure the safety of women from sexual harassment, as the crime is not committed against one person, but against the society as a whole, and all women suffer from it.
Last year, another video posted on Facebook showed a group of young men chasing three teenage girls down the street. At one point, the young men tried to trap the girls against a wall.
In the same year, another man was stabbed after trying to protect his wife from harrassment on a beach in Alexandria.
In response to the recurrence of the incidents, Al-Azhar Mosque released a statement denouncing harassment on Twitter.
الأزهر الشريف: التحرش تصرُّف محرَّم شرعاً وسلوك مدان بشكل مطلق ولا يجوز تبريره pic.twitter.com/39QMdQDQJR
— الأزهر الشريف (@AlAzhar) August 27, 2018
A 2008 study by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights found that 86 percent of men interviewed admitted to having sexually harassed women. A 2013 UN Women study also reported that 96.5 percent of women surveyed had been sexually harassed.
In 2014, Law No. 50 of 2014 introduced amendments to include crimes of sexual harassment. Article 306 of Egypt’s penal code declares that those found guilty of verbal sexual harassment in a private or public place will be sentenced to a minimum of six months in prison and fined no less than EGP 3,000.