The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

City Life

Cairo Guide: Five Ways to Deal with Street Harassment

Cairo Guide: Five Ways to Deal with Street Harassment
    written by
    Aleksandra Sekinger

    Fact: Walking the streets of Cairo is no easy, fun
    thing for women. If you’ve had your fair share of cat-calling, muttering in
    your ear and drivers’ attempts to run you over to get your attention; read on
    for five helpful and humorous ways to help you to handle Cairo street

    The Game Face

    You know those faces that professional female
    wrestlers make at each other in the rink? Raw aggression and menacing offence are
    written all over their faces, and they look like they’re ready to pounce. Well
    ladies, look upon thy inspiration!

    Body language speaks volumes. The way you carry
    yourself does affect how people–including street rats– engage with you. Have
    you ever noticed that if you’re ever really upset or in some sort of hurry,
    street harassment happens less? That’s because you’ve got your game face on.
    Love it, nourish it and embrace it. You are a force to be reckoned with.

    iPod to the Rescue

    The best way to deal with problems that you can’t
    solve is to absolutely ignore them. This is where our trusty iPod or MP3 player
    comes in handy. We find that rap or slightly harsher music helps tune out the annoying
    cat calls more effectively. You might also like to try Cairo
    360’s Ten Songs that Will Pump You Up

    If you’ve trained yourself to tune out without
    drowning your ears with sound; then that’s even better. The most important
    thing to remember is the less street harassment you’ll get, the better off
    you’ll be.


    Depending on the cat caller, sometimes the best way to
    handle an uncomfortable situation is looking deep into the eyes of your
    harasser, like you’re examining his inner-soul, and tell him to have some
    respect for himself– in Arabic, preferably.

    It should be noted that this does not work for every harasser.
    After a few times; you’ll have an intuition about which men will respond
    positively to this method.

    Visualisation Exercises

    Sometimes the best remedy for harassment is a good
    visualisation exercise. Though it sounds kind of kooky and new-age; it’s a simple
    exercise that you can do anytime and everywhere. Basically, visualise or
    imagine that the harasser is getting what he deserves. Say for example, the
    inter-city bus takes a drastically wrong turn and he flattens on the hot
    cement. Sweet relief. The more humorous your visualisations, the more effective
    they’ll be. And if you can get a good laugh out of it; even better!


    There are times when all you can do is act physically,
    and you should try to avoid that tipping point with all your might. But if it’s
    inevitable; we encourage you to engage physically with a bit of tact.

    We’ve devised a plan of egging. Keep a secure bag of
    eggs in your purse. When harassed, reach down into your bag and crack an egg
    right in front of the man. He’ll be so shocked, he’ll shut up for sure and maybe
    even think twice about harassing you or another woman again.

    Eggs are also nice for harassers on motorbikes because
    they can fly long distances. Of course, you could do other things with these
    eggs, which we can’t encourage here; but we trust that you’ll be creative with

    Note: These methods are not mutually exclusive and can
    be used together.