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June 16, 2014

Egyptian women turn sexual harassment on men

Satirical hashtag calling for the harassment of men trends in Egypt.

A mural with Arabic that reads "no harassment," is seen on a wall in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, May 24, 2013. (AP/HASSAN AMMAR)

Egyptian women called to sexually harass men in a mock protest on Twitter, following a new law that criminalises sexual harassment. The Arabic hashtag #هنتحرش_بالرجالة ('We will sexually harass men') was used more than 20,000 times in 24 hours and was the top trending hashtag in Egypt. 

Twitter users satirised common arguments raised in discussions of sexual harassment. While many joined the discussion, others argued the hashtag was counterproductive toward ending harassment in the country. 

A 2013 UN study said more than 99 per cent of women in Egypt had been subjected to abuse. With the new law passed on June 5, sexual harassment is punishable by up to five years in jail, or fines of between $400 and $7,000.