Man goes undercover as a woman to investigate deep-rooted sexual harassment and abuse in Egypt
Waleed Hammad dressed conservatively for his secret mission into the world of sexual harassment and abuse on the streets of Cairo, donning a long tan skirt and sleeved shirt, and at times covering his head like many Egyptian women.
The 24-year-old actor walked the sidewalks, hidden cameras in tow, for an investigative television report, hoping the broadcast would enlighten national debate about how to combat deep-rooted day-to-day sexual harassment and abuse in this patriarchal society.
As he strolled, Hammad, who wore light makeup to conceal hints of facial hair and accentuate his eyes, was hissed at and verbally abused. In one instance — when he was wearing a head veil — he was taken for a prostitute and offered up to $580 for one night.
“I can go wherever I want, do whatever I want very simply, very easily, very casually,” Hammad said. “For a woman, it boils down to her having to focus on how she breathes while she is walking. It is not just the walk. It is not just the clothes. It is not what she says or how she looks.” As a woman walking down the street, “you have to be in a constant state of alertness.” (AP Photo / Courtesy of Awel el Kheit)