CAIRO, Egypt — Essam Bashary no longer goes to demonstrations. A liberal, he’s too disappointed by the way the Arab Spring has degenerated into a fight between military and Islamists in Egypt.
But the 26-year-old Tahrir Square veteran has found a new cause to occupy his time — fighting sexual harassment.
Egyptian women have been complaining about high levels of harassment for years, and a recent UN survey concluded that 99 percent of women in the country have either experienced unwanted physical advances or been verbally harassed. Despite this, convictions of perpetrators are rare.
A number of activist groups and NGOs are working to combat the problem, encouraging women to report incidents and calling for an end to the practice’s social acceptability.
Bashary has taken a different approach: Along with a group of friends — like him, former revolutionaries who previously supported Mohamed ElBaradei and his Constitution Party — he founded a social media initiative called “Tie up the Harasser.”
You see sexual harassment: Do you call the police, or tie up the perpetrator yourself?
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