Increasing Sexual Harassment Awareness

1160 words | 4 page(s)

Sexual harassment can be defined as unwelcome physical, visual, or verbal behavior that is sexual in its nature (Cates, 2012). This problem is prominent all over the world, but is particularly severe in Egypt, where 99.3 percent of women are believed to have been victims of it at some point in their lives (Mahmood, Sloane, Tan, Taylor & Tiernan, 2014). Sixty-two percent of Egyptian men who were surveyed by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights admitted to engaging in this form of behavior (Ilahi, 2013). Research by Desouky and Marawan (2013) indicates that Egyptian women who have been sexually harassed frequently suffer from a range of different afflictions as a result of the ordeals that they have been forced to endure. These afflictions include depression, insomnia, and headaches.

‘Community-based learning’ is collective, collaborative learning that focuses upon the role of membership of a group and community participation as a means of facilitating learning and enhancing the learning experience. It was originally developed in its modern form by Jane Addams, who believed in directly engaging with communities and providing learning experiences to them in order to benefit the wider society in which they exist (Clark University, n.d.). It is used in the field of psychology in order to promote community action and use psychology to bring about transformative societal changes (Amer, Ganzon & Mohamed, 2013). This project involves utilizing this technique in order to teach young Egyptian girls between the ages of six and twelve about sexual harassment. It focuses upon Gameyet Masr orphanage, which is located at in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo.

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The purpose of this project is to ensure that the girls at the orphanage know when they are being harassed so that they can take the appropriate course of preventative action. A group of six individuals will visit the orphanage on 18th January, 2015. They will provide a training session about this issue. Hopefully, this will bring about a positive change and prevent the girls from suffering in silence if they are harassed in the future.

2. Methodology
The first stage in teaching the girls at the orphanage about sexual harassment will be to spend ten to fifteen minutes breaking the ice using the Wataneya exercise. This will help them to relax and make the program more fun and engaging. Next, the girls will be led in an exercise that involves creating crowns from colored paper and writing the word ‘Princess’ on them followed by their first names. This will enable the individuals who deliver the program to use the correct names when addressing them and put across the notion that the girls are princesses that should not be treated inappropriately in any way, for example sexual harassment. It will stress the concepts of self-appreciation and self-protection. This exercise should last for a total of fifteen minutes.

Once the crown-making exercise has been completed, ten minutes can be spent playing a game called ‘Steps’ whilst the girls wear the crowns. This will serve as an additional icebreaker. The girls will then be shown a video called ‘Salma’ that addresses the issue of sexual harassment amongst young girls and provides information about methods for safeguarding against it. This video will last for between ten and fifteen minutes.

After the video has been shown, the group members who are delivering the program will then spend ten minutes sharing their own personal experiences of sexual harassment with the girls. Different forms of sexual harassment will be covered, including inappropriate eye contact, verbal harassment, and physical harassment. The girls will then be asked about their own experiences of harassment. No specific amount of time will be allotted to this component of the program so that they can spend as long as they need.

Next, fifteen minutes will be spent playing ‘Musical Chairs’, ‘Simon (Sawsan) Says’, and Kahraba with the girls. This will help to maintain their attention and ensure that they do not become bored. It will also provide some light relief after the more serious activity that preceded it.

After this, a video called ‘Khali Balak’ will be shown. This video is similar to ‘Salma’ in that it discusses sexual harassment and methods for safeguarding against it. However, this time, the group members who implement the program will pause the video at several different intervals and throw a ball at the girls. Whichever girl it touches will be asked a question about the content of the video. If the girl gets the question right then she will be rewarded with candy.

Asking questions will ensure that the girls absorb the information that they are being provided with. The provision of candy will give them an additional incentive to pay attention. It will also make the video more entertaining for them. This video will last a total of twenty minutes, including the time that is allocated to pausing it, asking questions, and allocating rewards.

Finally, the girls will be provided with the chance to evaluate the emotional impact of the session. They will be told to draw either a happy face, an angry face, or a sad face in order to represent how they felt once the program had finished. They will be instructed how to draw each of these faces in order to remove any element of ambiguity that might arise. The faces that are drawn will then provide an indication of the effect of the session.

Ideally, the session should have made the participants feel happy, as it could be deemed to be unethical to deliberately anger or sadden young girls. If they enjoyed the exercises, then it is also more likely that they will have retained the information that those sessions were intended to convey. Therefore, the higher the number of girls who draw happy faces at the end of the session, the greater a success it can be deemed to have been. If the majority of the participants draw angry or sad faces then it will be clear that there were some deficiencies present in either the methodology or the manner in which it was applied.

  • Amer, M., Ganzon, V. & Mohamed, S. (2013). Experiencing community psychology through community-based learning class projects: reflections from an American University in the Middle East. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 41 (2),
  • Cates, S. (2012). The State of Sexual Harassment in America: What is the Status of Sexual Harassment in the US Workplace Today? Journal of Global Business Management, 8 (1), 133-138.
  • Clark University (n.d.). Community-Based Learning and Research. Retrieved from http://www.clarku.edu
  • Desouky, D. & Marawan, H. (2013). Awareness and Experience of Sexual Harassment
    Among Menoufiya University Students. Asian Journal of Public Health, 4 (1), 16-26.
  • Ilahi, N. (2013). Gendered Contestations: An Analysis of Street Harassment in Cairo and its Implications For Women’s Access to Public Spaces. Surfacing, 2 (1), 56-69.
  • Mahmood, F., Sloane, P., Tan, A., Taylor, S. & Tiernan, M. (2014). “When She Stands Among Men”: Sexual Harassment of Women at Political Protests in Cairo, January 2011 – August 2013. Online Journal on Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization. Retrieved from http://alnakhlah.org/2014/06/10/when-she-stands-among-men-sexual- harassment-of-women-at-political-protests-in-cairo-january-2011-august-2013/

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