Egypt’s Harassmap Walks the Walk on Combatting Sexual Harassment

Since the revolution eight years ago, Egypt’s women have seen strides in tackling their most pressing issues. For one, Harassmap, a Cairo-based interactive mapping tool that started during the revolution to combat sexual harassment, has taken off in the fight for women’s safety.

With 99 percent of women reporting having been sexually harassed while out in public, the outcry over this issue has lead to sexual harassment becoming a crime in the county. Perpetrators are penalized with jail time or a hefty crime, but those perpetrators can only face the consequences of their actions if the harassment is reported.

According to a 2004 study conducted by Harassmap on the effectiveness on crowdsourced data, 83 percent of participants said they would not report incidents of sexual harassment through an online reporting system because they did not believe it would guarantee confidentiality. Protecting those reporting the incidents is a top priority for Harassmap as it can be used by a victim of harassment or by a witness using the app to anonymously report the incident. Each report online appears as a dot on the map in the location of the harassment. Clicking on the dot will display the full information of the incident.

“Looking at the map gives you an overview of where we have received reports of sexual harassment, and the individual reports show the reality and scope of sexual harassment and assault in Egypt,” as explained on Harassmap’s website. Since its launch, Harassmap has collaborated with a number of schools, organizations, and companies such as Uber to provide training and awareness to put an end to sexual harassment.

They’ve also inspired many anti-sexual harassment initiatives all over the world, including the Safe Cities initiative I wrote about last year, with London being the latest major city to take on this issue. Harassmap has thus far received many well-deserved accolades for their work and commitment to this issue is without a doubt changing our world.