Could an advertisement help end sexual harassment in Egypt? The Campaign follows the making of the first ever mass ad campaign in Egypt to boldly address the epidemic of sexual harassment.
In 2010, an initiative called HarassMap began developing online and on-the-ground programs to combat sexual harassment. When a UN report revealed that 99 percent of women in Egypt had experienced harassment, they realized that fighting this crisis required more creativity.
The Campaign follows HarassMap on their journey to produce a major TV campaign to bring an anti-harassment message to the masses. From the start, their production is plagued by creative disagreements, staff changes, and financial issues, and the unusual challenges that follow a political revolution, including a shocking series of sexual assaults in Tahrir Square, and sustained periods of change and unrest. As the air date approaches, they wonder, will the public accept their point of view? How much impact can an ad have on a problem deeply entrenched in the streets?
About the Filmmaker
Jenny Montasir is an Egyptian-American documentary filmmaker and video journalist. For four years, she was based in Egypt covering women’s rights and social justice issues. Her work has been featured on the BBC, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Huffington Post, Voice of America, Time, and The Guardian. Her widely shared documentary short, Speak Out: Domestic Violence in Egypt, was selected to screen at the 2012 Women Deliver Global Forum.
I was inspired to make this film because while it is fairly well known that sexual harassment is a big issue in Egypt, we rarely hear about the people actively trying to put an end to it. At the same time, the #MeToo hashtag has triggered conversations globally on the sexual harassment women face in the workplace and in public. The Campaign is especially important and relevant today because it provides insight into the fight to end sexual harassment, and a deeper look into what works and what doesn’t as we try to eradicate this pervasive problem in Egypt and around the world. Since the film’s completion, the Egyptian government has continued to crack down on non-profit organizations that address human rights issues. Sadly, HarassMap has had to phase out their community mobilization street teams because of the security situation, but they continue to work with businesses and universities to give trainings and to support them to take action against sexual harassment.