Aiming to defeat digital sexual harassment via different social media networks, Ahmed Ramadan launched a campaign on Facebook to help girls report any inappropriate messages or revealing photos they receive on their accounts. Ramadan is a volunteer who has been working with El Basma Charitable Association on the harassment file for over four years.
The Facebook group “Congratulations, you are a famous digital harasser” has so far attracted more than 6,300 people who decided to take a positive step, either by reporting on the harassment they experienced or helping others overcome such painful experiences.
“The increasing number of digital sexual harassment cases in our society is the main motivation behind launching this group,” Ramadan said. “We live in a society that tends to blame the victim instead of finding a real solution to the problem. People are used to throwing the harassment responsibility on the shoulders of the girl, not the harasser. Thus, I wanted to create a safe platform for girls to freely report about the harassment they suffer from in their daily lives, and urge others to report the harassers’ accounts to shut them down,” he added.
Given social constraints, most girls refuse to publish their names. That is why the group commits to posting conversations or screenshots documenting the harassment incident, without providing any further details about the girl herself. As an administrator of the group, Ramadan sets the rules of publishing the harassment incidents, explains how to contact the victim, and defines the type of interference the group administrator takes in different situations to avoid defamation.
“Although the people’s interaction is not fast, the group managed to receive support from different segments of society, and till now we were able to close 11 personal accounts, four harassing groups, and two inappropriate pages. We also managed to provide information about two harassers; one of them used to threaten girls with publishing their personal photos, and the other one used to send pornographic images to some girls via WhatsApp,” he added.
Although Ramadan believes that exposing the identity of the harasser to the public and publishing his scandals is not the perfect way to handle the harassment issue, he still believes that it is an effective societal pain killer that may decrease the symptoms of the problem.
“In my opinion, to provide a more effective solution to the problem, governmental authorities must interfere to track the harasser and sue him. Although I always advise harassment victims to file a report in the police station, most of them refuse because of their fear of being blamed by society,” he noted.
In his opinion, the media must play a crucial role in raising people’s awareness about the issue and they must also pay more attention to individual initiatives that may help reduce the phenomenon on a small scale.
“We need to confront society with its mistakes and urge people to take an action when they see something wrong. I am sure that my digital campaign will be able to achieve its goals soon,” he concluded.