A Damietta teenager was stabbed to death while trying to defend a woman from sexual harassment, the Catch a Harasser campaign reported on its official Facebook page on Monday.
Ahmed Fayed, 17, was a member of the anti-sexual harassment campaign. He reportedly attempted to intervene when he saw a group of men sexually harassing a woman in Ras al-Bar City, who then attacked him in retaliation. One of the assailants fatally stabbed him in the heart, according to the Catch a Harasser statement.
“This is a society that lost its humanity and has already expired,” the campaign said as it mourned the loss of its member.
Other grassroots anti-sexual harassment campaigns reported late on Sunday that police forces were cracking down on their activities.
Shady Hussein, a member of the Harassing the Harassers campaign, said on his Twitter account that he and five other group members were briefly arrested downtown as they defended a group of girls from sexual harassment.
The campaign members reportedly intervened when they observed a group of men verbally harassing women in the street, which then led to a physical altercation with the harassers. According to a statement issued by the campaign, police forces who were friendly with the assailants then attacked the campaign members, followed them when they tried to flee the scene, beat them and took them into custody.
“We will beat the shit out of you, harassment people, who pretend to be men,” one police officer allegedly cursed as he assaulted a campaign member.
“Members of our campaign are always arrested by police forces each Eid, but this time it was the most brutal and humiliating to our members,” the campaign wrote in its statement.
One of the campaign members was badly beaten, suffering from two cracked kneecaps, the statement said.
Interior Ministry officials were not available to comment.
The Anti-Harassment Movement also reported an incident with security forces. Police personnel temporarily halted their activities and checked the identity cards of campaign members working on Talaat Harb Square in downtown Cairo, the group said in a statement posted on its official Facebook page.
“Our activities were about to be canceled, but it ended peacefully. What is the message the Ministry of Interior is trying to deliver to us?” the campaign asked.
In recent years, the Eid holidays have become notorious for a remarkably high prevalence of sexual harassment in Egypt’s streets. Although the Cabinet amended the Penal Code last year to criminalize sexual harassment, women’s rights activists say this is not enough to stop the endemic violence.
Various grass root campaigns have emerged to fight the problem and counteract what’s perceived as the state’s inability to act on the issue, particularly in the wake of mass sexual assault, violence and rape committed against female protesters in Tahrir Square after the outbreak of the January 25, 2011 revolution.