The president of Egypt’s Cairo University is coming under fire today after partially blaming sexual harassment on the female victim and the clothes that she was wearing.
Last week, a video showing the unidentified woman being harassed by a huge group of males while walking through campus popped up on social media. The video quickly went viral, and people all over were outraged at the behavior of the men.
Following the incident, Cairo University President Dr. Gaber Nasser added insult to injury when he appeared on an Egyptian television program to address the issue.
"The girl took off her abaya [traditional Muslim cloak] inside the university and appeared with those clothes – which was a reason for what happened … we don't require a uniform here but clothes should be within the tradition of our society,” said Nasser. “The girl's mistake doesn't justify what happened to her at the hands of those students. We referred the whole incident to an investigation and everything is recorded by the university cameras. We will find out who is guilty – whether the girl or the [other] students – and we are going to punish them with the proper punishment, which might be expulsion from the university."
Following Nasser’s statement, women’s rights groups all over were outraged that he would even bring up her choice of clothing in the conversation, regardless of whether or not he was fully blaming the incident on the woman.
"The worst is that people always find justification for the harassment and blame it on the victim," said Fathi Farid, founder of the “I Saw Harassment” campaign.
Nasser later clarified his statement, saying that it was taking out of context and that he does not blame the incident on the woman.
“It is clear that a false perception has been generated among some people that I placed the responsibility for what happened on the student," said Nasser. "I assure you that this is not true and I apologise [sic] for the misunderstanding."
The woman has not yet publicly come forward, and the university says the incident is under investigation.