‘In­se­cure,’ presents true sto­ries of fe­male jour­nal­ists ha­rassed at work

The Daily News Egypt - - Women -

Dur­ing the ex­ten­sive sex­ual ha­rass­ment cases which have been re­cently wit­nessed in­ter­na­tion­ally, not only in Egypt, a mar­ried cou­ple, Yahya Sakr and Noha Lam­loum, who are both jour­nal­ists and also work part­ners, started think­ing of pro­duc­ing a short doc­u­men­tary film about sex­ual ha­rass­ment es­pe­cially in the work­place, and par­tic­u­larly in the jour­nal­ism ca­reer.

They named the film “Aman Mafk­oud,” mean­ing “Miss­ing Safety,” which they ab­bre­vi­ated to “In­se­cure”, pre­sent­ing true sto­ries of fe­male jour­nal­ists who were ha­rassed at their work­place.

The film’s di­rec­tor and pro­ducer, Sakr, in­formed to Daily News Egypt that film’s idea came while he was dis­cussing with his wife the is­sue of sex­ual ha­rass­ment at the work­place, and the pos­si­bil­ity of doc­u­ment­ing the sto­ries of fe­males that were ex­posed to it, and how it af­fected them.

“Then I thought about pro­duc­ing a short doc­u­men­tary film about fe­male jour­nal­ists who were ha­rassed at work, es­pe­cially since I heard sev­eral sto­ries from col­leagues in the jour­nal­ism field, who de­cides to re­sign, or moved from one in­sti­tute to an­other, or who left the press field en­tirely af­ter be­ing sex­u­ally ha­rassed due to their fear of ex­po­sure or scan­dal, although they are the vic­tims and not guilty of any­thing,” Sakr nar­rated.

“No­tably, the press shapes pub­lic opin­ion,so we can­not ask fe­male jour­nal­ists to pro­vide in­sights, write news pieces and top­ics,in ad­di­tion to work­ing on women’s is­sues, while on the other hand they are be­ing ha­rassed them­selves,” he ex­claimed.

The film aims to give sex­ual ha­rass­ment vic­tims the op­por­tu­nity to talk, and over­come their si­lence, Sakr ex­plained.

He fur­ther elab­o­rated that when the #MeToo hash tag came out, he learned that the time is right to start work­ing on the film, as the whole world is talk­ing about sex­ual ha­rass­ment, so vic­tims may be en­cour­aged to go pub­lic and beat their si­lence.

In that con­text, Sakr noted that all the sto­ries in the film are true, and that the film was shot with fe­male jour­nal­ists who still prac­tice jour­nal­ism, point­ing out that there was only one case who left the field.

The film took nine months of work, rang­ing from re­search, sur­vey­ing, per­suad­ing the cases to par­tic­i­pate, shoot­ing then edit­ing, hence it was dif­fi­cult be­cause the film was an in­de­pen­dent per­sonal pro­duc­tion, re­marked Sakr.

Re­gard­ing the chal­lenges that Sakr and Lam­loum faced dur­ing the film’s prepa­ra­tion, Lam­loum stated that the most im­por­tant ob­sta­cle was per­suad­ing the vic­tims to ap­pear in front of the cam­era, and re­veal their in­ci­dents with­out shame, or dread­ing so­ci­etal reper­cus­sions.

Fur­ther­more Sakr elab­o­rated that many re­fused to par­tic­i­pate, while oth­ers asked that their iden­tity be hid­den, not­ing that the film’s cred­i­bil­ity is as­so­ci­ated to the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants who ex­hib­ited their faces,point­ing out that three cases took part with their fa­cial fea­tures show­ing, and only two re­quested anonymity.

Talk­ing about so­lu­tion to end this bad phe­nom­e­non, Sakr stated that there is a need for a safe en­vi­ron­ment for the press, through hav­ing cam­eras in the news room, also although hav­ing an open new rooms in­stead of a closed ones, in ad­di­tion to that it is nec­es­sary for the fe­male jour­nal­ists to have more aware­ness about sex­ual ha­rass­ment and to go pub­lic, not­ing that Egypt has a de­ter­rent ha­rass­ment law, hence when the jour­nal­ists an­nounced the ac­ci­dent, this an­nounce­ment will be a de­ter­rent to the ha­rassers.

“I hope to find a com­mit­tee within the syn­di­cate of jour­nal­ists that would be com­pe­tent in gen­der and lis­ten to the com­plaints of fe­male jour­nal­ists and seek to solve them,” he as­serted.

Scene of the film where Yahya Sakr and Noha Lam­lom, are lis­ten­ing to a vic­tim

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