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Girls & Women

An Egyptian Lawyer Said It’s a ‘Duty to Rape’ Women in Revealing Clothes and People Are Outraged

Women in Egypt are outraged after a lawyer said it is a “national duty to rape” women who wear revealing clothes in public, like ripped jeans.

The lawyer, Nabih al-Wahsh, made the comment on a TV panel discussion of a draft law addressing prostitutions and the incitement of “debauchery,” according to Al Aribiya.

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"Are you happy when you see a girl walking down the street with half of her behind showing?" Al-Wahsh, a prominent conservative, asked the other panelists.

“I say that when a girl walks about like that, it is a patriotic duty to sexually harass her and a national duty to rape her,” he said, answering his own question.

Read more: Women Should Undergo FGM Because Men Are ‘Sexually Weak,’ Egyptian Lawmaker Says

His comments prompted outcry from the female panelists on the show with him and public concern in Egypt, where sexual harassment and violence against women are major issues. In 2013, one study found that an astounding 99.3% of Egyptian girls and women experienced some form of sexual harassment, according to the United Nations Population Fund. Other surveys have found the problem to be particularly acute when women are on the street and on public transportation.

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Egypt’s National Council for Women was quick to respond to al-Wahsh’s comments, saying in a statement, “All the members of the council denounce and decry [al-Wahsh’s] statement that explicitly promotes rape and sexual harassment.” The council also announced it plans to file a complaint against Al-Assema, the TV channel that aired the program, the Independent reported.

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This is not the first time al-Wahsh has shared his controversial views in a public forum. During a 2015 TV interview, he said women should not be allowed to serve as judges, and during another debate last year Al-Wahsh wound up in a physical fight with a cleric who said women “should not necessarily be required” to wear a headscarf, according to the Independent.

Outraged, many have posted on social media in response to al-Wahsh’s comments, which the head of Egypt’s National Council for Women says are an “actual violation of the Egyptian constitution that makes explicit efforts to safeguard women’s rights.”