To walk the streets of Cairo as a woman is to expose yourself to the whistles and remarks and at times touch (or “grab”) of onlookers; men young and old, some married, some not. Long an issue -– or epidemic -- unspoken about and taboo, the Egyptian revolution brought “sexual harassment” to the forefront of public and media discourse. When I watched the film CAIRO 678 last year, I felt, for the first time, that an issue I’ve long grappled with as a woman living in Egypt was at last given voice. Based on the real-life events that led to the first anti-harassment legislation, the young director Mohamed Diab intricately weaves the stories of three Cairene women from different walks of life as they unite in a fight against sexual harassment on their city’s streets. In the aftermath of the revolution, sexual harassment seems to have increased, but so has the fight to combat it. Women are coming together with increasing frequency, in initiatives and collectives and campaigns, and more and more, in protest -- against sexual harassment and brutality, and in the call for equal rights and protections and respect.
Cairo 678 is playing on Friday, January 18 at 7 PM, and on Wednesday, January 23 at 4 PM. Tickets are free with admission to the museum. For more information, please visit moma.org
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