Employment Policies From A Gender PerspectIve Women And Employment In The FoRrmal Sector
March 16, 2014
Four years after Egypt’s first UPR: The Forum of Independent Egyptian Human Rights NGOs Submits Its Report on Human Rights in Egypt to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review
March 18, 2014

Between Male Domination and Work Authority

Edit By

Mona Ezzat

 This version was supported by Oxfam Novib

Field Staff in an alphabetical order

Alexandria Governorate:

Elham Mohamed (Legislation Association at Borg AL- Arab)

Enass Mohsen (Women and Development Association)

Samar Al- Saied (Borg El Arab Association for Community Development)

Abier Saied (Borg El Arab Association for Community Development)

Kamala Sobhy (Al- Sahwa Assembly at Borg Al-Arab)

Huda Ahmed (Al-Sahwa Assembly at Borg Al-Arab)

Hanaa Mohamed Osman (Future Association at Borg Al-Arab)

Ismailia Governorate:

Dr. Iman EL-Mesailhy (Arab Women Association for Development)

Nihal Nasr Al-Dein (Share Trust Association)

Suez Governorate:

AmalSoliman (Al-Shalofa Association for Community Development)

Saood Omar (Democratic Civilian Forum)

GariibSakr (Democratic Civilian Forum)

Mohamed Nasr (Al-Shalofa Association for Community Development)

Port Said Governorate:

Badr Al-Abide (Mobadron Foundation to Support Development and Civil Education)

Gada Saied (Raswah Center for Studies and Human Rights)

Mohamed Al-Aktash (Balady Association for the Environmental Protection)

Coordinated Associations:

Women and Development Association at Ismailia
Women and Development Association at Alexandria
Balady Association for the Environmental Protection at Port Said
Democratic Civilian Forum at Suez
Translated by: Dina Al-Maghreby

Table of Contents                                                                                             Page

Introduction ………………………………………………………………………..………….…3

Purpose of the Report ………………………………………………….………………………..4

Sample of the Research…..…………………………………………………………….…………4

Methodology and Tools Used……………………………………………………………….……..6

Report Difficulties ……………………………………………………..…………………………6

General Results……………………………………………………………………………….……7

SampleAnalysis …………………………………………………………………….………….7

1-Forms of Harassment……….………………………………………..……………….7
2-Causes of Harassment from the Female workers point of view………………..8
3-The Harasser ………….……………………………………………………………………10
4-Scenes of Harassment Crimes……..………………………………………………10
5-The Molested Women’s Reaction………………………………………………………………………….12

6- The Harasser Reaction………………………………………………………………………………………..13
7-The Impact of Harassment on female workers…………….………………..13
8-How did you know about the harassment cases of your colleagues?….. …..14
9-Males and Females’ Reaction for Harassment Incident ………………………..14
10-How can you protect yourself against harassment? ……………………………….15
11- The Helper …………………………………………………………………………….16

Recommendations …………………………………………………………………….………….17

Appendix (1) ………………………………………………………………………………..……18

Appendix (2) ………………………….………..…………………………………………….….21

Appendix (3) ……………………………………………………………………………..……..23

Study Cases ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………27

Introduction

The New Women Foundation” (NWRC)is considered one of the first women’s organizations concerned with the sexual violence issue against women in Egypt, it clashed with this issue through different events as in 1994-1995, the Foundation in collaboration with Nadim Center for the rehabilitation of violence victims, has issued a research entitled with”Perception of women subjected to violence” at the time when the issue of violence against women was still a taboo as anyone attempts to approach it will be exposed to a severe attack.

The role of the Foundation was not limited to preparing this research only, but there were several interventions done by it over the past years such as its initiative –along with other activists- to  form a task force to combat female genital mutilation which worked in different areas such  as “Deir al Bersha” in Al- Minya governorate.

A various versions of the foundation  hascovered the issue of violence against womensuch as two issues of  the annual agenda,a number of reports about media watch as well as the  preparation  of a film on the issue in order to break thesilence around this issue and to push the decision-makers and interestedparties to put this issuein therankcommensurate with thesize ofgravity, which extendstoaffect thewhole of society.

 Recently, after the spreading of  “sexual violence” crimes in street, homeand workplace a task force was formed  in December 2008to combat sexual violence against women , an initiative by the “New Women Foundation” to include 16 non-governmental organizations from different governorates and a number of volunteers’ lawyers.(1)

The “New Women Foundation”(NWRC) dealt with a number of issues through the provision of support and assistance to women subjected to rape and harassment as currently adopted a campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace. A research was carried  by NWRC in 2007 entitled “women in the labor market” about the situation of the female workers under the structural adjustment policies followed  by workshops to present and discuss the results.NWRC organized these workshops in sites where female workers gathered –in investment areas- as in Alexandria, Ismailia, Suez, and Port Said.

The discussions of these meetings revealed the high rates of violence against working women, including sexual harassment, in these areas.  It extended to the incitement of the factories’ departments on the harassment of female trade  union and workers during theirorganized protesting to defend their rights in order to break their will.(2)However, there is no clear offence in law for this act where the intervention of harassment is still  under articles (267, 268, 269 and 290 of the Penal Code No. 58 of 1937)(3) (because there is no specific definition of sexual harassment, although the international covenants and conventions provided the definition of sexual violence in its various forms including sexual harassment in the workplace.)(4)

(1)Appendix (1): The founding statement of the campaign and the guide against sexual violence.

(2)Appendix (2): Two female workers documentation in Mahalla Al-Kubra.

(3)These articles are related to crimes of “sexual assault, rape, and kidnapping associated with female sexual intercourse without her consent.”

(4)Appendix number (3):Definitions of sexual harassment in accordance with international conventions.


Purpose of the Report

The working class – men and women – is exposedto various forms of violence and exploitation in the workplace, specifically in industrial investment areas dominated by non-balanced working relationships and characterized by low level of wages. However, female workers are exposed to double exploitation due to their low social and cultural status within the community, not to mention that they were pushed to the labor market under the pressure of financial need without qualification and training where this situation causes exposure to other forms of violence and exploitation like the crimes of sexual harassment in the workplace which are still taboosviolations.This report aims to detect these violations and break the silence especially on this type of sexual violence which is related directly to the work conditions and environment  as well as being  the embodiment of the worst image of exploitation of women and use of  authority, in the sense of not only performing  the male dominance -As it happensat the level ofsociety as a whole-but also using unbalancedlabor relations power.

The report also seeks to know the impact of such violations on female workers, forms of resistance and the intervention they need to address these violations.

Sample of the Research

The search included a random sample (5) of 40 female workers in the industrial investment sector in Alexandria, Ismailia, Suez, and Port Said governorates with 10 cases in each region with the  range of age from 19 to 49 years as follows:

  • 19 years: 1 case
  • From 20 – 30 years: 21 cases
  • From 31-40years  : 7 cases
  • From 41- 50year: 3 cases

Their educational status varied from illiterate to university degrees:

  • University degree  :   3 cases
  • Medium degree: 22 cases
  • Below medium degree: 4 cases
  • Certificate of literacy: 2 cases
  • Illiterate          : 5 cases

Their social status varied (between unmarried- divorced-widows-married)

  • Engaged: 5 cases
  • Married:  8 cases
  • Miss     : 17 cases
  • Widow  : 1 case
  • Divorced: 3 cases

(5)The selection was made on a random basis to give all theunder examination community members the same equal opportunity without a particular order or system.

From the previous figures, we notice that the largest number of female workers isbetween the ages of 20 to 30 years, with a very few number over the age 41 years(3 cases only). The age group of 20 to 30 is the favored age periodby the owners of  factories because the femaleworker is mostly unmarried, therefore shehas no other burdens at home, she also has a high capacity of productionrather than any other age, as well as her lack ofa long career experience to claim some additional rights.

Most of the female workers on the production lines are with medium degree, below medium degreeor illiterate. while those of higher qualifications work in secretarial and  supervisor posts.As can  be noticed from the above figures, there are a number of workerswho refused to mention their information due to thedifficulties which we’ll talkaboutin detaillater.

The Samples of that report occupied different positions(workers on production lines –support services – administrative and secretarial-supervisors) and the sample belongs to different residential areas betweenurban and rural.

The sample reflects a variety of sectorsfromdifferent industrial sectorswherefemale employmentis concentrated which are: garment, textile industries, plastics, detergents, medical supplies and food.Factories where these female work  are subjected to
Law ofInvestment Guarantees and Incentives  No. 8 of year 1997 and its implementing regulations. while the industrial areas subjected to this law have many advantages, tax and customs exemptions, the majority of employment in these areas are not assigned, they do not enjoy union  protection, work in harsh conditions – up to 12 hours/day, may be more-and are deprived of incentives, profit and social allowances.

Most of women’s employment in these investment areas come from neighboring villages to the industrial areas concentrated mostly in the cities, and in some cases female workers travels from one governorate to another, for example some travels from Suez to work in the industrial zone of Ismailia.  The factories provide  buses to transport female workers but in case of nightshifts or sitting after the work hours in order to finish the required production, they have to return back by public transportations and bear the financial cost of that.
As for Borg El-Arab area in Alexandria, female workers came to it from various governorates like: Al-Behira andBenisuef. Consequently, a group of female workers areforced to rent a joint apartment to live as it is hard to go back daily- due to the long distance travel- that does not fit with the employment schedules  as well as the high financial cost of travel per day which does not fit with their low wages.

Female workers fall between the dominant culture in the society- that put the responsibility on women to protect their bodies and  the reason for any violation they are exposed to on them-and the anvil of exploitation in factories: as they are cheap labor who do not enjoy any right or protection of trade unionsalong with the  inferior perceptionof female workers –especially the ones who travel from one governorate to another.

 

 

Methodology and Tools Used

The report followed a  “descriptive approach” commensurate with such reports to monitor the violations such as harassment in the workplace which still need more visibility and the female workers’ awareness of the violence they are exposed to.The methodology used here is case studies, which included a number of guiding questions designed to find out the causes of sexual harassment in workplaces.  Its locations, identify of the harassers, the female reactionsas well as the male and female colleagues at work reactions, the effect of such violation on the female workers, and the factors that affect their resistance and the resistance forms they used.

The team work consists of four field coordinators , a coordinator in each governorate, and 11male and female field researchers from grassroots associations in the four monitored governorates, which are the associations’ partners with the Foundation in the task force against sexual violence, which had been mentioned at the beginning of this report.

We were keen on having the team from the same governorates of the female workers in addition to performing thecase studiesby females to gain the trust of the workers and encourage them to saytheir experiences without shame or fear, with emphasis data privacy and maintain confidentiality when conducting each interview.

Report Difficulties

Among the  difficulties encountered by the  monitoring group was the access to the female workers, as there wasa great difficulty in interviewing  them inside the factories or actually it was not allowed. As a result, the team struggled to interview  them after leaving the factory or by going to their homes  and  thisconfirm the importance of the use of associations from the same province. Another challenge was to convince these female workers to speak and show their experience where many of themrefused fearing from the factories’ administration abuse as there are cases subjected to sexual harassment and threatened by dismissal to keep silentand some were dismissed or have been subjected to sanctions. In addition, some females refused the interview asit would  hurt their reputation and made them the subject of talk between their colleagues.After the efforts and attempts done by the fieldwork team to convince these workers and their emphasis on confidentiality and without referring to their names in the report, the team conducted the interviews which took a long time and effort to reflect their bitter reality.

General Results

  • Most of the sample was subjected to sexual harassment, except few number did not suffer directly but they know female colleagues who  had been subjected to harassment in the workplace.
  • The report revealed thatsexual harassment in the workplace was  not related towomen’s age, social situation, education or their uniforms, as there are veiled females whohave been subjected to harassment.
  • The case studies show that this type of harassment is not primarily related to sexual desire as it is related to relations of control and unfair labor relations within the factories.
  • The absence of legal protection and organizational forms for female workers undermine their ability to resist and defend themselves.
  • Elimination of sexual harassment in the workplace was not limited by issuing a law but in additionit needs interventions that contribute to changethe society’s inferiority perception to women and to deal with them as citizens having rights and obligations as the rest of humanity.
  • It can also be argued that such a report had a positive impact on both participants(the field researcher and the samples)perceiving the importance of breaking the silence oftaboos social issues and contributing to their knowledge that harassment is not a result of an error committed by women.

Sample Analysis

1- Forms of Harassment

Forms of sexual harassment stated by the female workers varied from: eye contact, touch of the body till tearing their  clothes and force kissing. In addition to a reported rape accident by one female worker about  her female colleague and this was mentioned as a form of sexual harassment.

The most common forms of harassment was by eye contact, described by one female worker as “inappropriate look” indicating implicit connotations and considered as the most difficult form to prove since it is not tangible. Another common form of harassment wasromancing  -described by one female worker-where the harasser uses homosexuals, abusive words or words touches girls ‘ modesty. while there are cases where the harasser displays sexual demands clearly like going out for a walk or make a direct request to a sexual relationship. Most of the female workers also declared their expositions by touch, some said that the harasser touch sensitive places in their body, and a limited number of workers said that there are cases where they were kissed by force and ripping their clothes off.

 In Alexandria, all the female workers reported that men did hardcore actions on roads and public parks (by showing their genitals),also in one of the Suez cities, two female workers spoke about two incidents: where the harasser shows his penis and asks them to touch.

The language used by the surveyed female workers expressed their shyness of the forms of harassment they experienced as there are some words that havenot been said directly, for instance, they used the term “got out his thing” which means that the harasser showed his penis and  described  the eye contact  by “inappropriate- rude- obscene look ” within the framework of the case study, these terms means looks that have sexual connotation.

2- Causes of Harassment from the Female workers’ point of view

 Harassment reasons variedaccording to the surveyed females workers, the report revealed that work conditions and environment help in the occurrence of many harassment crimes. while some workers believed in cultural and ethical reasons, besides that, one female worker linked between her exposition to harassment and the social status.  Another sample believed that she was harassed for working as a secretary, which is one of the professions seen as inferior. As well as seven workers – not a small number- talked about the poor economic conditions and the high cost of marriage, which lead to high rate of unmarried in both genders, and from their point of view, it may be one of the causes that lead men  practice sexual harassment.

Work Conditions and Environment

The industrial area consists of several adjacent factoriessurrounded by a fence and a general gate known as the “Investment Gate” as in Ismailia and Port Said governorate. In some other areas, the factories are adjacent situated over large areas as Borg Al-Arab. In General, these factories are away from the residential areas and there is a space where the female workers walk on foot to get out of the factory and mostly this area is not illuminated at night.

  • The female workers have to stay to complete their required production in the night shift where their number is usually less than the male workers, as the work is stopped in the entire factory’s ward except the ward having the worker supervised often by a male worker. This climate encourage workers to abuse female workers, according to a narrative of one of the female worker: “we were five ladies and nine male workers, while I was working one male colleague pulled one fellow from her clothesand tried to hug and kiss her, as we were few and it isnight. “
  • Lack of means of transportation in most factories, for female workers who delays at night shifts, forced them to use the public transport to return home which exposed them to many forms of harassment including a look of doubt and guilt whichthey considereditencouragesharassment and is reflected inin terms of expressions with sexual connotations up to touching their bodies and showing explicit sexual demands.
  • The overloaded buses which served the factories to transfermale and female workers, helps in the occurrence of harassment.
  • The supervisor or the male worker exploited the tight spaces between the machines as well as the narrow distances between the machine and the female workers, by using any excuse or pretext-such as to follow-up the production or take a piece of fabric- to enters through the machines, rubbing and touching sensitive parts of the female workers’ bodies.
  • Mixed genders in the production wards , mostly supervised by male workers-with authority-  taking into account, the absolute authorities possessed by the supervisors and the factory owner, these  unfair work conditions help to exploit the need for women to work and not in the favor of the female workers, for example, it is easy for the female workers to be transferred  from one  place to another, or deduct of their wages without reason, as what a female worker said: “when I refused to go with my boss and started to be more careful, he began bothering me, then deducting half my premium which means big loss as the lack of the premium means that the income is minimized too”. Sometimes,it deprived the female worker from her work opportunity, as most of these workers are without work contracts, one female worker said: “One supervisor repeated the same action with the girl again, and when she overspread it by saying: she would raise a complain , he fired her and attached a paper preventing her from entering the factory”. Beside, some foreign-owned factories- hired foreign supervisors where some have harassed the female workers. There was an Indian supervisor who committed a number of sexual harassment violations.  Also, one of the foreign factories’ owner  raped a female worker, as one of the female workers said: “One of my colleagues, her foreign owner told her :”I want someone to tour me round Suez” then he took her in his car, locked it and raped her, arrested by the police and  he was deported from Egypt. However, after few months he returned back again, How!? We don’t know. while the girl’s family was from Upper Egypt, feared the scandal, they too her backand till now we did not know what happened to her”.
  • In some factories, the male and female workers’ bathrooms are very near, one female worker stated that: “theproblem was not in the location, but in the uncovered ceilings and low walls that allow the workers to watch the females during their presence in bathrooms.
  • All the surveyed female workers, who travelled from one province to another, and lived away from their families, spoke aboutbeing under suspect, and they are in permanent accusation being females went out to work and moving from one governorate to another. The situation reached its peak when a Sheik ofa mosque in Borg Al-Arab in Friday sermons, instigated against female workers that they should be expelled from the city due to a  baby found beside the trash bins, by this the female workers were accused without any investigation or information.
  • Few of the female workers attributed the reason for harassment for being divorced.
  • One female worker linked being harassed to her job as a Secretary as she deals mostly-due to her work-with men(colleagues, management, and the company’s clients). which  paints a negative image of being “secretary” as she accepted a work where she would mostly deals with men thus she should accept sexual harassment as well.
  • Three female workers stated that among the causes of harassment isthe taking of banjo by male workers.
  • Two female workers stated that among the causes of sexual harassment is that men are away from religion.
  • One female worker pointed to theculture in our society that condemns any girl exposed to harassment, which encourages men to harassment.
  • A number of the female workers attributed one reason for harassment to the high age of marriage among youth due to the economic conditions, the high cost of living, excessive dowry and marriage expenses.
  • A female worker mentioned the nude pictures of women in media and Internet.
  • Few put the responsibility for harassment on the female workers themselves due to excess mixing, boldness and way of wearing: including veiled workers. Some have also blamed other females because of their clothes or their way of dealing with male colleagues.
  • A female worker described the occurrence of harassment by male workersas a kind of boast among others males’ colleagues.
  • A number of female workers explain the harassment as a sickbehavior, especially in the case of amarried man.
  • Two female workers said that they do not know the causes of sexual harassment.

3- The Harasser

Most of the female workers reported that they were subjected to harassment by colleagues, president of the shift and supervisors in the same ward .while some pointed out  to their colleagues’ being harassed byforeign supervisors.Some workers also suffered harassment by the general supervisor, quality observerand the engineer in the production ward. One of the workers reported on a harassment incident to another colleague by the job owner and another harassment incident by syndicate committee member in a factory.In Alexandria, the female workers are exposed to various forms of sexual harassment by neighbors, men of different age in the street because they are working in a province far away from their families. Thus, these workers are willing to accept such practices.

4-Scenes of Harassment Crimes

Most of the female workers in the survey exposed to harassment in the wards production, the elevatorand the factory store. while those who often stayed in the night shift are subjected to harassment in the street outside the factory or in  the  means of transport(microbus). There are a few incidents occurredin the job owner’s office,the supervisor or the production managers, in addition to some cases of friction and touching the body in the bus company. One female worker in a Suez factory -working in houses as extra work-  was asked by her manager to clean his apartment, where she was exposed to harassment there. As for Alexandria, all the female workers were subjected to harassment in streets.

One female works in a factory was exposed to harassment from her male colleague at her home, that colleague was selling products in installment and she asked him for a sewing machine giving him her address. He arrived,she opened the door but there was no machine  instead  his look changed and asked her clearly to have sexual relations.

The report revealed that the environment and the labor relations help in the occurrence of harassment. As mentioned above, the male workers and supervisors in production halls exploited the narrow spaces between machines to rub the females. Moreover, the authority of supervisors as they canreducetheir salary for flimsy reasons up to dismissing them and usually the supervisor’s influence in the administration is more powerful than the female worker, thus he enjoyedalmost absolutepowerswithout controlwhich opens the door for passions and personalinterests’ control. These powers and authorities were exploited starting with mistreatment till the practice of sexual harassment in its various forms.There is a clear link between the conditions and unfair labor relations and the exposition of the female workers to harassment, as most of the workers are without contracts or any kind of legal and syndicate protection. All of the female workers went out to work for their financial needs andin pursuit ofsecuringthe basic needs oftheir families. In addition, the low status of women in the society helped in the exposition of the female workers to harassment from several parties within the workplace. According to a female worker narrative: “I was surprised of being harassed by my boss, which supposed to be a model for others. In his office,  while I was asking for a day-off as my son was sick. After my request, my boss looked at me and said ” what will be the pay of that honey, nothing is for free nowadays” but she insisted on not responding and had to leave the work.

Despite the suffering of the female workers from the harsh conditions and labor relations, the actual cultural and social reality of women encourages those workers to harass these female workers. Some have used different means to threaten the female workers so as not to speak about the incident of harassment  by accusing  her that she is lying or that she intentionally discredit him, up to being threatenedwith knives.

The prevailing culture in the community which has an inferior look at women and put on them the responsibility for defending  their bodiesand blame them to any exposure to harassment, has a great effect on their exposure to harassment, especially, those who are moving daily from one governorate to another or residing in another province away from their families- as the case for the workers of Alexandria whose circumstances forced them working out due to financial need, and lack of employment opportunities in their home areas. The surrounding communities did not  observe those circumstances and conditions dealing with these female workers considering their bodies are permitted and that their behaviors are in doubt. They almost face harassment daily from the neighbors either by standing on the balcony opposite to the residence of the female workers showing the penis or the standing ofsome men of different ages in the dark waiting for the arrival of the workers from work at night and harassed them till their residence, trying to approachthem. Some offered them money in exchange for direct and explicit sexual demands.

Sexual harassment was not limited to the female workers in the production lines, but to the secretaries in the factories as well, referring to the reason that they work in occupations that have been seen as inferior. This was expressed clearly by oneof the secretaries who had been molested
saying: “I was surprised by thecompany’s production engineer came to my office, attacking me trying to open my blouse. I do not know why, it may be because I am a secretary used to deal with company’s customers and the administration in anice manner, so he thought that I am not a respectable person!!”

The absence or lack of some services help in the exposure of female workers to harassment; the failure of providing enough buses commensurate with the number of male and female workers. Also the failure of providing buses for the night shift caused the exposure of female workers to harassment while going or returning back from work, either from their colleagues or from people outside the work while using the public transport to return back home after the end of a night shift. In those cases, the harassment forms varied from using words with sexual connotations up to touching their bodies.

5- The Molested Women’s Reaction

The reactions of the molested female workers varied. Most workers who have been subjected to harassment by workers or supervisors, they spoke about giving the harasser blame, reproach or anger look. One female stated:” when I felt that my colleague came to stand next to me trying to touch mybody, I looked at him a look which means – as she put it – (Be ashamed) “, others insulted or hit the harasser and a few of them were silent and cried.

Obviously, the females’ reactions to supervisors are negative.Most of the molested workers by the supervisors just kept silent, one female worker was asked by one of the supervisors of management to go to his office and talked with her in uncomfortable way – as she described it – then he began touching her body. She said: “I was very respectful  not losing my temper,  then I wanted to rebel against him, but I was afraid of scandal letting everyone knew it, and I left the office”.The workers justified this silence as a form of protection from scandal; especially they are not confident in the possibility ofbeing supported.This difference in the reactions to fellow workers from the supervisor or the boss head is due to the power enjoyed by both the supervisor and the boss is larger and important than the colleague’s power, as both of them can harm her in different ways up till dismissal.

 The report showed also that the reactions varied according to the harassment forms to the female workers, as in the cases that the harasser gave a look of sexual connotations, it was answered by blame and anger look or by words of admonition to the harasser. while in cases of touching the body, the female workers react differently, some insults him and others hit him. In the case of workers who have been molested during the night shift, they refused to be late to avoid the contact with the harasser, whether he was a fellow or a supervisor.In Alexandria, most of the molested female workers’ first reaction in the street is loud screaming, asking for the help of people in the street andreturning quickly back home. As this type of harassment took place outside the authority of labor relations, the reactions were quickly, not hesitant to recover the harasser’s identity, and trying to punish him by asking help from people.Some workers have used blame phrases such as “Don’t you have sisters?” or”I will call your wife” which reveal the absence of human rights’ culture among female workers, by repeating the traditional culture that believes in men as responsible for the protection of  his wife, sister, mother and daughter.

6- The Harasser Reaction

As mentioned before, there is an exploitation of the economic circumstances of these female workers who were pushed to work under the pressure of theirfinancial need. The work environment and the cultural reality encourages the harassment to female workers.There is a clear exploitation of thatculture, which does not blame men, but puts the responsibility of harassment on women. The harasser (male workers) hurts the reputation of this female worker between colleagues and female colleagues; others incited his colleagues on the harassment of female workers. There was a case in which a worker records a film for a female worker by his mobile and sent her image among the male and female workers in the ward of production. It reached threatening toattack the females workers by a knife if they made a complaint, in another case, there was a quarrel in a factory when a female worker was harassed and called her brother, who works with her in the same factory. In the case that the harasser is from the supervisors or the engineers , the females exposed to harassment at work, one molested female by her boss said: “I am facing persecutory, as I am not allowed to go to any place like my colleagues”and also another worker said:” They knew our need to live and earn living and exploit it, as a result of refusing going out with my boss, he started bothering me and reducing my wages , that means big financial loss as incentives and profit also decreased”.

It may come to the dismissal of the female worker as it is easy to end her contract and in the absence of a contract, it will be much easier. The responses in the report about the reaction of the harasser showed that there are people -especially the supervisors within the wards of production or general supervisor – who did not expecta reaction from the female workers and when one responded as a form of resistance, the supervisor and general supervisor became angry andprovide the workers by threats and intimidation phrases.

There was harassed incident of a worker touched a female worker’s breast and when she screamed and went to complain about him to the supervisor, he called the worker and asked him about the reason for doing this act.  The worker apologized and promised not to repeat it again. This incident was told by the fellow of this molested female worker and it was not clear if the worker has really knew his mistake or apologized only for fear of punishment. However, it is clear that when a supervisor did his role which is supposed to be his actual work, he called the worker who admitted the incident and promised not to be repeated -Although the supervisor was supposed to be more assertive by issuing a penalty signed decisionto the worker, as a punishment- this can contribute to the reduction of these incidents in the workplace and encourage women to take positive attitudes.

7-The Impact of Harassment on Female Workers:

All the surveyed female workers were affected psychologically; felt frustration and humiliation. Seven workers avoid dealing with male and female colleagues and they felt ashamed for a period of time, some left the work while fear and insecurity controlled the majority of them permanently prompting one worker to wear the Niqab. The divorcees and widows reported that they avoid talking with male colleagues, feeling guilty and putting the responsibility for the occurrence of harassment on them because of their social status. Some workers who took a negative reaction felt inferior and forfeiting their dignity in order to keep the opportunity to work.

The general situation of female workers can be characterized as frustrated, upset, fear, guilt and blame themselves for what has happened. On the other hand, some female workers have taken strong reactions as hitting the harasser . They felt that they are strong and capable to defend themselves, where their speech shows that their active and positive action helped in raising their spirits and maintained their dignity, Which was expressed by a female using these words: “Nothing protects woman except  dignity. I always respect myself. There are limits and I am usually talking about general topics and my colleague must know that I won’t be quiet if he is going to behave rudely, I should have a strong character!! “.

8-How did you know about the harassment cases of your colleagues?

The answers to this question revealed that workers can narrate to each other about harassment and exchange talk during rest or going to or returning back from work. In Alexandria, the workers can know what happened in their factory and other factories as there is a big number of workers from various factories are staying together in one apartment and this gives a greater chance to talk. It was noted from the report that there are male workers and supervisors who are known to be constantly harassing female workers.

9- Males and Females’ Reaction for Harassment Incident

 There were different attitudes from the male and female colleagues at work.There were some positive attitudes supporting the molested female worker, persuading her not to leave the work and help her to make a complaint to the shift president if the harasser was from the male workers. Some female colleagues have taken a strong attitude in supporting their colleagues by hitting the harasser which bothers her colleague. There is one female worker who supported her colleague was exposed to threaten by her young male colleagues as a result of her strong support. In one factory, the male and females workers took a position from the harasser who was one of the workers and was treated badly till he left the factory.

While the negative attitudes include being silent fearing from the abuse of the supervisor, unfortunately there are male and female colleagues who bother the molested female by the supervisor as a kind of complement to him.  while in a factory, the male and female colleagues treated the molested female badly, where the male harasser workers record the incident on a mobile phone and under this pressure her fiancé left the factory but continued his association with this female worker. Sometimes the male and female colleagues do not believe the occurrence of the harassment incident until they hear repeated complaints about the same person.

Some male and female colleagues express their anger upon hearing the harassment incidents but without any reaction translating this. Beside that one surveyed female worker said: “Some deals with the harassment incidents as it is the norm and happens every day”.

10 -How can you protect yourself against harassment?

The report showed a decline in women’s awareness of their rights and protections. It highlighted the effect of culture and society on women that supports the individual solutions where one worker commented on this saying: “I do not know what to do” and that she avoid dealing with the harasser. There are a number of molested female workers who decided to leave work after marriage describing this situation as a kind of protection as not to be subjected to such abuse again.

Aside from this culture, there is also a clear impact from the conditions and working relationships that weaken the female workers’ positions and don’t enable them to defend themselves. As most of them were without contracts or with temporary contracts and without syndicate protection, and all of them go to work to meet their family demands. There was a clear trend that submitting a complaint by the female workers is useless and it might lead to the loss of their jobs, especially if the harasser was from the supervisors, quality observer or the boss. There are some cases that already submitted a complaint which have not been investigated, as the administration kept denying the female workers fearing to affect the factory’s reputation or the complicity with the supervisors. One female worker said: ” I won’t complain as nothing will happen except saying that I am doing troubles, so I will take my right  with my hand” supporting this view, females can also turn to their parents which sometimes leads to quarrels with the harasser.A number of workers also found that one forms of protection is the presence during work among their female colleagues, avoiding sitting alone, going out of the factory in groups and avoid talking with male colleagues at work unless necessary.

Apart from the mentioned above, some female workers took positive individual initiatives, as one female worker informed the chairman of the night shift that a worker spied on her during her presence in the toilet. The chairman treated it seriously issuing a note, turning him to the legal affairs and deducting four days of his wages.  In the absence of a law that criminalizes sexual harassment and provides specific penalties, the penalty turned to be discretionary and sometimes the harasser is exposed to a punishment which does not commensurate with the occurred violation.Some females workers have to do some forms of deception, as one female reported that she buys Cans to the supervisor, paying him money on various occasions such as ” sickness of his son”, as to stop asking her to go out with him.

Some female workers motioned the necessary of learning a defensive sport as “karate”. One female said:” All her colleagues at work should know that she has a loud voice and won’t be silent for her rights”. Others talked about the need for wearing men’s clothing and talking like them.  While one female worker stated that she wore the Niqab as a form of protection. In Alexandria, they believe that staying in groups in an apartment would provide some protection.

 In many of the stated harassment incidents the harasser did not get any punishment and that causes frustration for female workers who have attributed the reason to the change of values and behaviors of the society. They used expressions as “the world has changed”, “it’s a bad time”, “harsh circumstances” without mentioning the lack of the legal mechanism to protect them from harassment.

11- The Helper

Although the female workers’ answers to the previous question were mostly passive and the positive answers were depending on violent individual solutions, the answer to this question sparked many positive reactions which can be utilized and developed in proposals for the formulation of a protection ways from harassment.

There was a diversity among female workers rejoined the report on the helper who could be useful in the harassment incidents. It can be said that there is no specific trend towards a particular person, but it was noted that sometimes, the choices were determined in accordance with the harasser himself.  As some reported that they went to the supervisor in case the harassment is done by one of the colleague (male worker) and others went to the general director, the chairman of the night shift or the owner of the factory when the harasser is from the supervisors. while there are a few who talked about the possibility of going to police (after doing a complaint in the factory’s management) yet one worker emphasized the necessary of going to the police directly, saying: “One should consult the police directly as men will support each other and I will be guilty”. On the other hand, two female workers stated that they did not have anyone to trust or can help them. One of them said:  “If there was a law, one can go and complain but to whom? If each female who is exposed to anything like to make a complaint, the company will be closed!” and another one said: “The chairman is always right and we just accuse him falsely, they always stand with the supervisors”.

In Alexandria, the female workers pointed out that they asked help from the passerby in the streets or shop owners during their exposure to harassment but at the same time, they have noticed the doubtful looks and that there is a societal complicity against them. All the time, they are seen as women of dubious and questionable behavior and this affects also- as mentioned- their tendency towards taking any form of resistance and they just return home.

Recommendations

Based on the above, the report recommends:


The Government:

  • Providing legal and syndicate protection for female workers through a permanent work contracts ensuring fair conditions. Don’t  obstruct the efforts of the male and female workers to form a trade union committees.
  • Organizing periodic inspections on factories to ensure safety of the work environment, especially regarding the female workers.
  • Issuing a law criminalizing sexual harassment containing specific articles relating to the criminalization of sexual harassment in the workplaces, taking into account the privacy of the issue.
  • Providing training courses on using complaints’ mechanisms concerning incidents of harassment and different ways to deal with a molested female worker.

 

 

Factories’ Administration:

  • Providing appropriate and adequate transportation for all shifts.
  • Hiring female supervisors on the production lines with large numbers of female workers.
  • To provide houses for the female workers from other provinces.
  • Providing safe and separate toilets for male and female workers.

As Appendix (1) includes  recommendations of the civil society organizations.

 

Appendix (1)

Founding statement

The Establishment of a task force to combat sexual violence against women:

 

The organizations working in the area of women’s rights were engaged through studies and advocacy with the issue of sexual violence against women for many years and have succeeded in putting the issue on the public debate’s agenda. Some programs and dramas have adopted this issue which helped to raise a broad societal debate about it, especially with the increase in the forms of sexual violence and the nature of the group violation.

However, the prevailing attitudes still blame women and adopt a position justifying the behavior of offenders although ostensibly condemned, this refers to the perception of inferiority of women, putting the responsibility of what they are exposed to on them. Aside from the cultural perception of sexual violence that is linked to sexual desire, this is a reductase of the issue incompatible with what is happening in reality, which proved that the crimes of “sexual violence” is not an expression of sexual desire but it is a way to prove men’s domination over women through the threat of violent acts or practicing these actions. It is also an extension of the existing forms of profiling on the basis of roles drawn socially for both sexes.

Despite the continued adoption of the community to this perception of inferiority of women, we can monitor a degree of shifting in the public opinion after the issue of Noha Rushdie. The first case in which the victim insisted to progress a complaint and investigation to the case till it went to the Court and issued a judgment against her sexual harasser for three-years. Beside, that a defendant was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment Islam Magdi with labor in the issue of sexual harassment in the street of the Arab League, an issue which was referred  to a speedy trial. On 25th of November, at the Giza Criminal Court, It sentenced a rigorous imprisonment for 15 years to an uncle accused of the indecent assault to the daughter of his sister who gave birth to a baby girl.  On 14th of December, A sentence was issued by 15 years against the perpetrator who break into a house and raped a woman in Hurghada.

In this context, those who sign this statement expressed their welcome by these provisions and reaffirmed their confidence in the fairness and impartiality of the judiciary.

On the other hand, Some actors began to draft laws to punish violence against women in general (Nadim Center) also other forces initiated in legal amendments to the criminalization of sexual harassment (Egyptian Center for Women’s rights, MP Khalil Quetta and  the National Council for Women) which is considered as one of the important attempts, as the crime of harassment is still included under special articles of indecent assault under the pretext of the absence of a specific definition of sexual harassment.

 All the above contributes to break the silence that surrounds these issues, as some women submitted complains about the forms of sexual violence they face and unfortunately some of them have been badly contributed by the police officers as in the cases of Heba and Shaimaa.

On the basis of this , a group of non-governmental organizations saw the necessary  to move on this issue, cooperating and coordinating at the highest level to meet the needs and expectations raised by their work in the past years, in particular ” sexual violence against women” as it became more severe and  not just a social phenomenon associated with economic, political and cultural status of the community, but it is linked to the violence performed by the institutional bodies in the Government deliberately and intentionally. Therefore the situation is conducive to break the silence and adopt clear methods of confrontation.

Accordingly, the conferees announced at the Foundation “New Woman”, dated December 3, 2008 for the formation of a task force to counter sexual violence against women, and this coincides with the formation of a task force known as the International Campaign   “16 Days Campaign against Violence of Women”, which began on November 25th  and runs until December  10th.

The gathered participants confirmed the continuation of their work to encourage women to take all measures and necessary procedures to protect themselves and their bodies in the street, work and study places through the following functions:

  • Provide immediate services and support (psychological and legal) for women; Educational work to change attitudes and behaviors related to the issues of sexual violence to women
  • Increase pressure to develop the performance of various institutions headed by the police to deal with the issue in a proper sensitivity.
  • Contribute to the development of the legal dimensions of the issue of sexual violence against women
  • Provide other forms of solidarity with female victims of sexual violence.

 

 

Organizations that have signed the statement:

 

1. Women and Development Association in Alexandria
2- The Egyptian Association for Enhancement community participation
3- Balady Association in Port Said
4-Arabic women’s Association
5-Al-Alimi for law  and lawyers performance
6- The New woman Foundation
7-Family Development Foundation
8- Helwan Foundation for Community Development
9- The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
10. Mobadron Foundation to Support Development and Civil Education in Port Said
11- Nadim Center for the Psychological Rehabilitation
12- Suez Canal’s Center
13- Hesham Mubarak Center for Law
14-Arab Bureau of Law
15- Women’s Development Forum
16. Democratic Civil Forum in Suez

 

Individuals:

1- Ahmed Fathy – lawyer
2- EngyGazlan
3-Zyad el Halamy – lawyer
4-Tahar Abo el Nasr – lawyer
5- Mohsen Bahnasy – lawyer

Appendix (2):


     In response to the vigil by the male and female workers in Mahalla on Thursday 30/10/2008 and Saturday 1/11/2008 demanding their rights, some workers belonging to the administration hit the female worker “Amal Al-Saied” exposing her to sexual harassment by touching sensitive parts of her body during her entrance to the company on Saturday 1st of November 2008. Mohammed Shelby slapped her face, pulling off her veil and blouse, calling her a bitch, performed a signal and actions shamelessly and threatened her by harming her husband and children if she did not stop participating in the protest with her colleagues.
While, Tarek Abdel-Moneim kicked her in sensitive parts of her body insulting her badly . In addition, Jamal Abu Al-Isaad, touched sensitive parts of her body, crashed her in the wall more than once, insulting and threatened with sexual assault in order to prevent her from sharing with her colleagues demanding their rights. While another female worker “Widad Al-Demerdash” have been hit and threatened with sexual assault before her sons and her husband and abuse them. Mohamed Chalabi, after the vigil on Thursday 30/10/2008 and during her going out from the night shift, kicked her, insulted her and called her a bitch and whore, and threatened that he would sexually assault her if she did not stop demanding the administration for the workers’ rights, and at the same time she has been assaulted by Tarek Abdel-Moneim using the same words and he has tried to hit her, chased and catch her but has been stopped by  her colleagues.

On Saturday 1/11/2008 the three men, Jamal Abu Al-Isaad, Tarek Abdel-Moneim , and Mohammed Shelby, prevented Widad from entering the company , chased , caught and frightened her but she  managed to escape them fearing  from further harm. The Trade Union Committee member, Reda Sultan, in the company called Widad Ahmed Al-Demerdash on 22-10-2008, offered her a huge amount of money and upgrade premature if she will be able to convince the workers to stop demanding their rights. In case of her refusal, she will be moved to a less position and he added that she will face: ” other things you won’t bare it” and the same thing was repeated with Amal Ahmed Al-Saied. Consequently, this pushed both, Widad Al-Demerdash and Amal Al Saied to resort to judiciary for assault of being hit, insulted  and harassed by some of the company’s workers belonging to the administration during the protest, where the case was referred to the Public Prosecution on the request of the claimants to locate the case under sexual harassment.
On 21-2-2009, Court of Mahalla sentenced for the first accuser, Mohammed Shelby, three months imprisonment with labor and warranted 1000 pounds. It fined Shelby, Jamal Mohammed and Tariq Abdel Moneim, 200 pounds charged with defamation, obliged them all in solidarity to pay the plaintiffs civil right amount of 5001 LE as a temporary civilian compensation, and obliged them to pay the expenses and 50LE for the attorneys’ fees.After the issuance of the court’s sentences, all of them (Mohamed Shelby – Tarek Abdel Moneim – Jamal Mohammed) signed an acknowledgment confirming the truth of Amal Al-Saied, Widad Al-Demerdash and Mohammed Al-Attar words, which was stated in the investigations misdemeanor 16625 of year 2008 in second misdemeanor of Mahalla, and they pledged not to harm them again. Therefore and in the presence of a large number of male and female workers of Al-Mahalla Company, the situation was settled. However, the three workers (Mohammad AL-Attar , Amal Al-Saied, Widad Al-Demerdash) were astonished  that the Commissioner-General of the company raised an issue of defamation against them because in the investigations they charged him with incitement against them and the case is still before the Court.

 

Appendix (3):

 The second episode of the series of Employment and Work Conditions.
Employment and work program of the ILO  (International Labor Organization) of year 2005.
Sexual harassment at work: International and National response.

The report is part of the research effort on sexual harassment and violence in workplaces, related to the conditions of employment and work program of ILO.

Sexual harassment in workplaces is considered a barrier before the organization’s aim of promoting decent working conditions for all employees, as it reduces the quality of life at work, risking the safety of women and men, undermines gender equality and impose huge costs on enterprises and organizations.

The report presents an overview of what has been achieved in the fight against sexual harassment in the workplace at the International and National levels. We offer here a section on international principles, national legislation and the activities of Governments and employer organizations.

The International attention to the issue of sexual harassment:

Until the 1970s, all the harassment that women faces in the workplace were unnamed although sexual in nature and depend on the victim’s gender. However, when women demanded in the United States that sexual harassment is considered as a kind of sex discrimination in federal legislation against discrimination, women started to use the term “sexual harassment” to describe the violations they face related to harassment.

The awareness spreads of the harm caused by sexual harassment and its consequences as a violent and harmful action. The behavior of sexual harassment may be physically, verbally, or non-verbally and it is mostly offensive in nature. According to the report, there is difficulty in an exclusive determination of all behaviors considered as sexual harassment, thus each unwelcomed and unreasonable act to the receiver is considered a sexual harassment. So, sexual harassment is a self- assessment topic that differs from one person to another.

  • Deirdre McCann, Sexual harassment at work: National and international responses, Conditions of Work and Employment Series No. 2, Conditions of Work and Employment Programmer, INTERNATIONAL LABOR OFFICE – GENEVA, 2005.
  • Duncan Tshaiel and Vitoria De Martino. Violence in Workplaces. ILO. Beirut, 2002

 

Harassment of Women:

The vast majorities who are subjected to sexual harassment are women: younger in age, financially independent, unmarried and divorced. The workplace is a special factor in the possibility that women are subjected to harassment.

 Women working in non-traditional sectors or under the direction of men are exposed mostly to harassment. Along with the migrant workers because of their inability to secure alternative employment due to  their isolation and their lack of ability of communication, sometimes due to the differences in language and lack of financial resources, all these compounded by restrictions placed by the Governments on the transfer of migrant women.

Combat sexual harassment on the regional and international levels:

This section presents models to combat sexual harassment:

First: On the Regional Level:


1. The Caribbean Community:

The Caribbean Community issued a legislation model on sexual harassment in 1991. “Model Law on Protection against Sexual Harassment” which is a part of a project sought for the issuance of draft laws on issues concerning women.

2. The European Union:

Its interest in sexual harassment in workplaces started in 1986, when expressed in the European Parliament’s resolution on violence against women to include the recommendations of the European Committee in 1991 and recommendation relating to sexual harassment in the workplace. The recommendation was about the protection of women and men’s dignity at work, where sexual harassment is defined as “undesirable behavior of a sexual nature or other behavior regards sexuality that affects the dignity of women and men at work.”

The discussion continued at subsequent meetings of the Commission in 1996 and 1999, resulted in adopting a draft law in September 2002 to include the distinction between sexual behavior and behavior on the basis of sex. The first is considered as “sexual harassment” but the second is “harassment” and both of them are considered a form of discrimination based on sex and was prohibited.

3. The Organization of American States:

The initial definition of sexual harassment in the workplace was introduced as a form of violence against women which is mentioned in the Inter-American Convention of year 1994 on the prevention and eradication of violence against women as well as its punishment. The Convention affirmed women’s right in a life free of violence.

Second: On the International Level:

The sexual harassment and violence at work issue was treated and discussed in numerous international instruments and resolutions.  Starting with the Universal Declaration of human rights, also  in the two International Covenants on civil, political and economic rights, social and cultural rights. Beside  the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the International Conference on human rights in Vienna in 1993, the Fourth World Conference on women adopting the Beijing Platform for action 1995 and the special meeting of the General Assembly on Women 2000 on gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century.

  • 1997: Federal (Union) International transport workers launched a campaign on “Sexual Harassment” and focused on the abuse of airline females’ employees.
  • 1998: the Executive Board of the International Federation of free trade unions adopted a program of action to combat sexual harassment.
  • International Labor Organization: The ILO was concerned with sexual harassment and conducted researches and trainings on the subject, it gives it a special weight that the organization is interested in promoting the case of decent work for women.

1. Conventions:

The Convention (discrimination of employment and occupation) in 1958,  dealt with the issue of discrimination in employment on various grounds including sex and asked members to declare and pursue a national policy to be applied to promote equality of opportunity and treatment with a vision to eliminate discrimination.

In a survey on the Convention conducted in 1996, the Convention’s Committee found that sexual harassment was a form of sex discrimination against women in employment undermines equity, labor relations and hinder productivity.

The Commission’s definition of sexual harassment:

“Any form of humiliation or inappropriate remarks, joke, tip, and comment on someone’s clothes, fitness, age, family status, etc., through a degrading patriarchal culture based on sex and insulting dignity. Any unwelcomed invitation or request, implicit or explicit –whether accompanied with a threat or no- , any inappropriate look or other behavior associated with sexual activity and any unnecessary physical contact”

The ILO is the first international body to adopt a Convention explicitly provides protection from sexual harassment. The indigenous and Tribal People‘s Convention of year 1989 stated that: “Governments should adopt special measures to ensure “the enjoyment of workers  from both gender ,belonging to these peoples,  of equal opportunities and treatment in employment and protection from sexual harassment”.

2. Non-binding texts:

The ILO has launched a set of non-binding texts containing provisions for sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • Resolution adopted by the International Labor Conference in 1985, on equal opportunities and treatment for women and men in employment, mentioned that sexual harassment in the workplace is a determining factor for the working conditions for workers and recommended policies and measures for achieving equality as well as combating and preventing harassment.
  • In 1991, a decision was launched by the International Labor Conference of ILO plan for female workers, to invite the Labor Office to prepare training manuals and special materials on major issues for female workers as harassment in the workplace.
  • In 2003, the ILO adopted code of practice on violence in work place in the service sectors and measures to combat the phenomenon.

Private initiatives by governments and non-governmental organizations for the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace and the help of the victims:

Some of those initiatives have focused on issuing a legislative provision prohibiting harassment, others focused on compulsory application of the harasser punished articles included in sanctions regulations. While others raise awareness of sexual harassment and provide advice and guidance on what  should be taken upon the occurrence of such incidents.

Examples of States with laws on harassment:

  • United Kingdom, Protection Law from harassment, No. 40 of 1997, covers the crime of harassment in the workplace and other places.
  • Paraguay, the new provisions of the Labor Act No. 496/95, article 81, stated “the sexual harassment” in the acts of violence which would justify the termination of the employment relationship.
  • France, law No. 1179-92, of year 1992, concerning the abuse of power in employment relationships, particularly with regard to sexual issues amending the labor code and the code of criminal procedure.

Forming Internal Policies:

Some Governments, employers and workers’ organizations work with a commitment to eliminate sexual harassment by creating an internal policy for complaints. The organizations put their own procedures and policies to face harassment. Some sanctions may include payment of compensation by the harasser to the victim or sentences from the courts to stop the behavior of “sexual harassment”, besides the release of provisions requiring employers to address the damage caused by sexual harassment.

Case studies:

Case study 1:

“I was working as a Production Supervisor in a factory which produces packages of medicines; my job was to follow-up the production and supervises the work and production. There was a chairman or a general production supervisor who was following me from the first day.

One day, I left my mobile on the table as I was busy observing the   empty   medicines to put them in the bags.  He took my mobile, opened it and started to laugh and comment on one of my messages. When I saw that I ran quickly, taking my mobile from his hand and shouted: “It’s not your right to do this!”, he answered quietly: “It’s full of girls -Marwa, Iman, Nawal – what is this! You don’t have a boyfriend to send him a message”.  I replied: “Be ashamed, you are an old man, so you are supposed to know that is not your right to open and see peculiarities of people”.  He commented: “I am free to do anything” I quickly replied: “To yourself not to me!”

Then, I Left him to complete my work but he followed me with inappropriate looks and flirty speeches for some days.  When I got bored from that way, I went to my employer but he told me:  “Never mind, he is one of the oldest employee here, he is carrying the whole responsibility of the company and since he is an old man, avoid him!”. So, I started to ignore him but on the last days he encouraged  some workers  and started  bothering me saying : send me a message: ” Give me some attention, my beautiful” and some words like that, and all the working girls have noticed and told me: “Everyone who came to work went away from such behavior” . Really I got tired psychologically form him and others, as I remembered what happened in the old factory, when I  was exposed to harassment by my director who was looking at me with inappropriate looks, on one a day he asked me to bring a file from the shelves.  Then, I was surprised when he came from his office, approached me and put his hand on my body, so I got angry and pushed him forcefully saying quietly: “It’s too much” fearing from scandal.  I left the work several times, but he called me and apologized  saying: ” He was testing me”,  but I was really tired psychologically, and when I refused to return back, the owner of the factory called me and said: “Do not be angry and return back to work but in the administration department to avoid dealing with him”.  Really these kind of people are everywhere and we cannot do anything. Some reacts silently, other accepts and others left the work.

 

Case study 2:

We had an engaged colleague to one of her fellows at work, wearing Niqab. She received a call from unknown person says that: “Her colleague is very tired and needs you quickly”. This colleague was absent from work on that day, so she took another colleague with her and went to her address where she found four men working with her in the same company awaiting her.  They raped her and took photos of her in bad conditions. On the next day, the video was on all the
colleagues’ mobiles in the company, but many colleagues supported her, even her fiancé as he had a great confidence in her morals. He insisted to complete the marriage without giving up on her, but he left the work and went to another factory and she left the work as well and stayed at home.

Case study 3:

Every day, I take the company’s bus, since I took it from the first station; it’s always empty for a while except myself till other passengers came. I had a colleague at the factory who has strange looks, when looks at me, I feel naked. In the bus, He kept touching me; he always takes drugs (banjo). One day I fight with him as he pretended to fall on me due to the rapidity of the bus and all the passengers heard. Two days later, when I  took the bus , I found him there as if he slept the night there and suddenly  he sit behind me , threatening me by a knife at my side and said: “If you say a word , I will  kill you”.

 I stayed tired and strangled as if my heart was burn for a period of time, I decided to take my revenge from him but he was disappeared, for sure he is imprisoned. I could not complain of course, it’s a very difficult thing, our reputation is important.  Besides, if I went to the police station, nothing will be done.

Case study 4:

In the beginning of 2001, the company dismissed me and four others girls then returned me back. I was working there on a machine called “Jumbo” which needs especial experience and speed in production .My colleagues noticed that my supervisor looks at me with uncomfortable looks and say bad words.  I did not understand what he means but my colleague turned my attention to him, saying: “The supervisor like you, lucky you and he said that you look like a horse1“. At the beginning, I thought that there is something in my clothes but when he came and told me that: “I am strong” I told him: ” what do you  mean ?”  He told me: “Strong as the horse” so I got angry and l left him.  After that, when he saw me again he started to sing saying: “we ride the horse”. One day I told him: “Give me your mobile to call your wife and asked her whether your words are normal or not”. After that he started giving me extra work, bothering me and deducting from my wage. Till one day the head of the department asked me:  “why the supervisor treated you like that?” so I told him everything and he supported me. An investigation took place and he was punished but he continued to bother me till I got tired. At the same time, I got sick due to the work conditions, so I should take less work. However, they gave me job on machines with high temperature without respecting my health condition so I got psychologically tired and left the work.

Case Study 5:

      “I was exposed to harassment when I used to work in a factory” and The General supervisor was the harasser.  He harassed me by words saying:  “Lift your Niqab to see you”, “I hope to have a relation with you” and other dirty words. He is known for doing these things and he always takes the girls to the elevator to do bad things. He said to me: “Come with me to the elevator”. I cried, leaving the machine and went to the director to complain.

6 It means that she is very strong and beautiful having sexual connotation

Returned back to my married sister’s house telling her what has happened.  She called the director saying: “Will you accept this for your wife? “.  After that I was worried at work and felt bored, so I left it because he did not stop and I did not know what to do, so I decided to leave.

As for him, as if he did nothing; he started to bother me, fetching for any mistake and my colleagues did not do anything. When he was saying to me these words  coming very near to me, my colleague next to my machine was hearing and laughing!… I don’t know how to protect myself from these things.  I can avoid it, but it is still here… I can’t… I swear I don’t know.

Case Study 6:

I was not exposed to harassment in my work, but I have a story which happened to my colleague who was working with me in the factory.  The man caught her breast; she shouted on him and complained to the supervisor.  So, the supervisor called and asked him: “why did you do this?”  The man answered: “I am sorry, I do not mean it”. “Don’t repeat it” replied the supervisor and that’s it. Although he should be dismissed but this factory is too bad, I mean the supervisor should dismiss him. I worked there for 9 days only, because there is no system, this incident occurs a lot and nothing is said… The colleagues do nothing, if they support each other, these thing won’t be repeated again.

Case Study 7:

My husband asked me to leave the work but I refused in order to live, as he does not pay anything and his circumstances were not so good. However, I really wished to leave the work as to take care of my little son, who is raised by my mother, we are living with her-. My work started at 7:30 a.m. till 4:30 p.m. Harassment started by the eye contact, they are different, sometimes they are inappropriate and meant to hurt a female and sometimes he showed himself to a female, by calling her so she will look finding him naked in order to let her see his things.  Beside others who catches her, in addition to the explicit and direct words.

One day, some agents were coming to visit the factory, where all the workers and supervisors wear an I.D. One female worker working on a machine was bothered by the I.D., she attached it in the buttons’ hole of  her blouse to work easily.  The supervisor said to her: “I wish I was your I.D”, the female went quickly to her manager to complain and the supervisor was fired due to the big number of complaints from different girls about him. All the male and female workers were happy for that  but they did not do anything actually, as the supervisor was doing that to a lot of girls, and each time when they complained , he denied it and replied :” They only saying this because I am so hard at work” .. The last time, the girl narrates everything in details, they believed her as a result and all the girls were happy for that.

Your guide against sexual violence
If you faced any type of sexual violence and cannot speak to anyone
this affected your mood and health

You can call and you will find a person who will listen and help you

Your guide was issued by the initiative of the “task force against sexual violence against women” containing the names of the associations and lawyers that provide legal and psychological support to women facing all forms of sexual violence:

      Organisation

  Governorate

      Activity

The means of communication

Legal Aid Society for Human Rights

Cairo

Legal assistance

0122395148
Bahnsy16@ yahoo.com

Association of port Fouad of family and child care

Port said

 psychological Support

0663409393-0663427844
btcsportfouad@yahoo.com

Suez Canal Center for  advocates and human rights studies

Port said

Legal assistance in cases of violence against women in the Canal cities and provinces of North Sinai

0107678556
Islam_m_awad@yahoo.com

 women and development Association

Alexandria

Legal assistance and unit for listening to those who were subjected to sexual violence and psychological guidance

035549652-0183013326

Nadim Center for treatment and psychological rehabilitation for victims of violence

Cairo

Psychological Support and having  hotline

5776792-5787089
0106662404-0106664894

The Arab Office for law

Cairo

Legal assistance

27921871-27921874-27921873
arablaws@yahoo.com

Office of Al-Alimi to law and advocates

Cairo

Legal assistance

23610208-23610209
zyadelelaimy@yahoo.com

Hesham Mubarak Center for Law

Cairo

Legal assistance

25758908

Taher Abo El Nasr

Cairo

Legal assistance

0124123175

Helwan Foundation for Community Development (Bashier)

Cairo

-psychological Support through unit for listening and psychological guidance
– providing  Legal assistance

Tel: 25560420
Fax:25542491

Our word association

For Dialogue and Development

 

 

Cairo

 

 

Legal assistance

 

 

0104114123

ourwordeg@yahoo.com

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Tel.: 3336 744