egypt flagEgypt approved new punishments for sexual harassment due to rising pressure on authorities to fight the worsening problem.

Initiatives to counter harassment

Outgoing president Adly Mansour decreed sexual assault a crime punishable by up to five years, a much-awaited move toward combating the abuse of women.

The decree, which includes jail terms and fines, was among the several last-minute decisions by the president.

Under the new laws, any sexual or pornographic suggestions or hints through words or acts are now punishable by imprisonment for at least six months.

Violence against women

The longer sentences are for offenders who hold power over their victims, like being armed with a weapon.

Violence against women in Egypt has grown over the past few years. Until now, the country has not had a law defining sexual harassment.

According to UN study last year, nine out of 10 Egyptian women had experienced some form of abuse, ranging from minor harassment to rape.