women film creepers on the bridge to show street harassment in egypt
women film creepers on the bridge to show street harassment in egypt women film creepers on the bridge to show street harassment in egypt
sep 05, 2014

women film creepers on the bridge to show street harassment in egypt

women film creepers on the bridge to show street harassment in cairo
screenshots courtesy of tinne van loon




in an effort to describe the increasing street and sexual harassment women face in egypt, two female filmmakers based in cairo have documented this experience in ‘creepers on the bridge’. colette ghunim and tinne van loon secretly filmed the stares they received on a walk across across the qasr al nile bridge, described by the documentarists as ‘one of the places where it is the most intimidating to walk alone as a woman’. the video follows point-of-view footage, emphasizing — from their own vantage point — the feeling of being objectified in the streets.


the women want to turn the short movie — which you can see below — into a full documentary about sexual harassment in egypt titled ‘the people’s girls’ and are currently seeking funding on kickstarter.

filmmakers street harassment women egypt creepers on the bridge
a still from ‘creepers on the bridge’ emphasizes the feeling of being objectified in the streets




answering the question ‘why is this issue important?‘, the filmmakers say: sexual harassment has been a growing problem in egypt over the last couple of years, especially in cairo. UN women reported last year that over 99% of egyptian women have suffered from sexual harassment in their lifetime, and about half of all women report facing harassment on a daily basis. the thomson reuters foundation also recently named egypt the worst country for women in the arab world. our half hour film documents three people with different views of sexual harassment and their daily lives surrounding the issue. because patriarchal societies often overlook women’s rights violations, this documentary serves as a catalyst for public debate not only in egypt but internationally, as prominent cases of sexual harassment frequently occur on a global scale.



creepers on the bridge
video courtesy of



the half hour documentary film will consist of three narratives: esraa, an activist against sexual harassment, abdullah, a tuk-tuk driver, and an egyptian lawyer. esraa is a 26 year old egyptian woman, who challenges social norms by performing in storytelling theater pieces about sexual harassment, as well as participating in anti-sexual harassment protests and events. abdullah is a 28 year old tuk tuk driver from a working class neighborhood in cairo. as 8 out of 10 women experience sexual harassment in public transportation, the filmmakers will observe daily life in the city through his eyes, and get his social circle’s perspective on the issue. the third character would be an egyptian lawyer at a prominent women’s rights organization, and will document her work on a court cases where she defends a victim of sexual harassment. take a look at the teaser video below for a glimpse of the documentary.



‘the people’s girls’ teaser
video courtesy of tinne van loon
  • may i know what of ‘design’ does this topic have to merit a post here?

    Moataz says:
  • @moataz. all design exists in context. as the two women filmmakers are presenting a documentary on a global issue, it merits a feature on designboom not only for its visual communication and artistic integrity — both important and essential aspects of design — but also for its cultural relevance and the societal circumstances it surrounds.

    nina azzarello I designboom says:
  • I think that is important too to know the persons whom we design for. This is the sexist society that we live. I’m from Brasil and I’m pretty sure that if I made a film just like her (maybe I will) we will see the same. We can’t close our eyes to the cultural environment we are living and the way people who’s going to use or live in our projects see the world…

    Ana Paola says:
  • for sure this has a matter of design, it is a global issue and for sure starting there it could affect the whole world.

    Henrique says:
  • it’s in the end an editorial choice that I don’t want to discuss much, but I just honestly see the ‘visual communication, artistic integrity, cultural relevance and the societal circumstances’ of this topic unfit with your very respected stream of design idea posts. What also saddened me was to see one rare designboom post on Egypt, and turn out to feature a real but a disgraceful theme (sexual harassment).

    Moataz says:
  • Looking into a camera when someone is filming you as you walk down the street (or in this case, along a bridge) doesn’t qualify as sexual harassment. This is more a case of “lusting eyes”

    Christine says:
  • Hi,
    I think Harassment, as any form of improper, unacceptable or even illegal behavior, is a matter of culture, education and self-entitlement of certain individuals in a society.
    Men seem to need to be better raised and respect their women (which are ultimately their mothers and sisters as well) and for that we usually count on women.
    So, I think that the existence of problem may be attributed equally to women as well as men. When you believe in equality, the responsibility has to be shared too. I know that this might seem a non-popular notion, but it’s only my opinion.
    Women have the key to change it (as it seems that they recognize themselves). Good luck women of Egypt!, you have a long and hard road ahead. Many men around the world are with you!
    PS: I think the use of the words “art” and “design” have to be approached in a wider meaning since this is basically a cultural issue.

    carlos says:
  • Whilst this is a worthy investigation, I’m not sure what the first clip across the bridge is meant to illustrate. Are these men responding to the presence of a camera, a woman, or a woman with a camera? Unless this is made clear by explaining whether the camerawork is covert, its impossible to determine if that journey was as problematic or intimidating as you contend.

    douglas says:
  • It’s just too much … Either the situation is really bad in Cairo or I have to question the objectivity of the documentary. I’m curious to know what is that girl wearing while walking down the bridge. Anything off normal would result in this – no question, even here in Canada!

    Sinasa says:
  • I found the boy’s/men’s swagger, aggressive, controlling and confronting …and I’m a male! I suspect to varying degrees this is the experience of women around the world – heightened in Egypt’s restrictive society unfortunately. Men in Egypt have a lot of personal work to do. Like ‘douglas’, I would like to know what is going on behind the camera. It would be preferable if the camerawork was covert. Is this art? Is this design? I don’t have an immediate answer. I clicked on it out of interest so that must say something.

    Ian - Richmond, Melbourne says:
  • maybe after you get your rights for women, you could work on rights for gays, can you imagine, how it would be for all those men if it was just as acceptable for gay men to just walk the bridge flirting & groping those men. it would allow those men to feel what its like

    Edward says:
  • @Douglas @Sinasa so you are blaming women now!!!!

    Nina says:

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