Insurance companies to issue policies against sexual assault
Sexual-harassment in Egypt - YOUM7 (Archive)
By SARA OSAMA SHOUREAP

CAIRO: A number of insurance companies are studying issuing policies against sexual assault, al-Masry al-Youm reported.

Sources at the Misr Insurance Holding Company told al-Masry al-Youm that they are still studying the content and form of the policy and they are considering listing it under personal accidents which will make harassment injuries covered by insurance for all nationalities and not only for Egyptians.

There are personal accident policies that may ease the process for issuing this policy but some companies are afraid due to the spread of this phenomenon, a source who requested anonymity said.

A 2013 United Nations study found that 99.3 percent of Egyptian women have been sexually harassed. Non-governmental organizations and anti-harassment movements have been pressuring the government to address the chronic problem for a long time.

The source added that the proposed policy may be issued during the coming months, including financial compensation and medical care, adding that they thought about this proposal due to the Tahrir square incident and many other incidents reported by foreigners.

A British tourist was raped in the Sinai resort city of Sharm el Sheikh in March, and a hotel security guard was accused of the crime.

A 43-year-old woman who was attending the celebrations of the inauguration of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has been sexually assaulted and stripped naked in Tahrir Square June 8.

Inauguration celebrations witnessed seven other cases of girls who were sexually assaulted while they were celebrating at Tahrir according to forensic reports.

President Sisi visited the assaulted woman in the hospital on June 11 after a viral video of her sparked widespread outrage.

Continuous assault incidents have sparked anger among several rights organizations and women organizations.

Last month, assistant Interior Minister for Human Rights General Abu Bakr Abdel-Karim said that the Interior Ministry will establish a new department to combat crimes of sexual violence and harassment inside all security directorates across Egypt.

In a phone interview with Mehwar TV channel, Abdel-Karim said “police officers working in this department will be deployed in all crowded places across Egypt where harassment is most likely to take place.”

After the incident in June, around 200 people participated in a protest in Cairo’s upscale district of Zamalek, condemning sexual harassment and calling authorities to take action against such crimes.

Several defendants have been arrested. Seven defendants have been sentenced last Wednesday to life in prison over charges of sexual harassment and two others were sentenced to 20 years in prison over the same charges. Three of them were fined 10,000 EGP (U.S. $1,400).

The defendants faced charges in four cases of harassment, kidnapping, stealing, and indecent assault.

In early June, former Interim President Adly Mansour issued a decision to amend some articles in the criminal law issued in 1937 to include criminalizing sexual harassment, presidential spokesperson Ehab Badawy said, Youm7 reported.

The amendments stated that any person who sexually harasses a man or a woman will be imprisoned for at least six months, fined 3,000 to 5,000 EGP, or both. If the act of sexual harassment is repeated through stalking the victim, the punishment will be at least one year in prison, a 5,000 to 10,000 EGP fine, or both.

If the harasser is the superior of the victim professionally, educationally, or a relative and pressures the victim or if the crime is committed by more than one person, or under the threat of a weapon, the imprisonment will be from two to five years and the fine will be between 20,000 and 50,000 EGP.

Source at the Misr Insurance Holding Company categorized the harms of sexual assault as physical and psychological, asserting that they can’t issue an insurance policy compensating someone for psychological harms due to the difficulty of estimating such harms in financial terms in contrast to physical harms.

Vice Chairman of Financial Supervisory Authority Mohamed Moeet said in previous statements that the authority didn’t receive any requests from insurance companies regarding issuing a policy against sexual assault, asserting that such policies provide coverage on abuse and harassment and will not be offered to clients except after the authority’s approval.

The Egyptian Union for insurance is studying all similar policies in other countries and rephrasing them according to Egypt’s social situation after which it will be sent to the authority and studied by technical committees, Moeet added.

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