Sexual harassment in Cairo: The effectiveness of crowdsourced data
The challenge of collecting data on sensitive issues like gender-based violence is well-documented across the globe. Stigma and shame prevent many victims of sexual harassment from talking about or reporting these crimes. However, new technologies and social media platforms open up possibilities to overcome some of the data-collection barriers.
In its latest report, the Cairo-based HarassMap examines the use of crowdsourcing (information collected through social media platforms and text messaging) for collecting data and reporting incidents of sexual harassment. The report also provides insights into the perceptions and experiences of Egyptian women and men on sexual harassment in Greater Cairo.
Some of HarassMap's findings are:
- “Sexual harassment” is understood to refer to more than rape or sexual assault. In particular, younger Egyptians consider it to include unwanted touching, verbal comments, and facial expressions.
- Both crowdsourcing and in-depth interviews reveal that more than half of harassers are youth below 25 years old.
- Different types of harassment were reported more commonly depending on the method used. Catcalls and ogling were more common in interviews, while touching and physical assault were reported more frequently in crowdsourced data gathered online.
- Crowdsourced data had fuller and more comprehensive reports than those gathered through interviews. This suggests people are more willing to speak about the issue online than in person.
HarassMap is a volunteer-based initiative with a mission of ending the social acceptability of sexual harassment and assault in Egypt. One of their methods of generating data is to collect reports of sexual harassment and display them on a searchable map, identifying hotspots where extra caution and police protection are needed.
Watch an interview with Rebecca Chiao, Director and co-founder of HarassMap