Cyber sexual harassment: a cross-sectional survey over female university students in Upper Egypt


  • Ahmed E. Arafa Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Beni-Suef University, Egypt
  • Rasha S. Elbahrawe Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Beni-Suef University, Egypt
  • Nahed M. Saber Department of Maternal and Newborn Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Beni-Suef University, Egypt
  • Safaa S. Ahmed Department of Maternal and Newborn Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Beni-Suef University, Egypt
  • Ahmed M. Abbas Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Egypt



Cyber sexual harassment, University students, Internet users, abuse


Background: The striking rise in the internet users has resulted into high potential for abuse. Cyber sexual harassment is a type of internet abuse that carries many negative emotional consequences and could undermine the mentality of young people. The objective of this study is to investigate the rates of exposure to cyber sexual harassment among female students in Beni-Suef University and explore the correlating factors.

Methods: A total of 2350 female students representing all academic years of all faculties of Beni-Suef University were recruited to participate in this cross-sectional study. An Arabic language self-administered questionnaire was designed and comprised three sections; socio-demographic characteristics, exposure to cyber sexual harassment in the past 6 months, and emotional effects of exposure.

Results: Almost 80% of all the surveyed female students reported experiencing cyber sexual harassment during the past 6 months, and most of the victims were exposed to cyber sexual harassment more than once. Students living in urban areas and students who spent more hours per day using the internet reported more exposure (p<0.05). The harassed students responded mostly by anger (65%), fear (20.1%), hatred (18.5%) and sorrow (18.4%) towards the harassment incidents.

Conclusions: Female students in Beni-Suef University are highly vulnerable to cyber sexual harassment, which is shockingly prevalent. Administrations in Beni-Suef University, as well as other Egyptian Universities, should adopt anti-cyber sexual harassment programs. Such programs have to introduce overwhelming policies and regulations that counter fight cyber sexual harassment. Such policies can be used as guidance for the university students, their families and their academic staff.



Subrahmanyam K, Šmahel D. The Darker sides of the internet: violence, cyber bullying, and victimization, Digital Youth, Springer New York; 2011: 179-99.

Amichai-Hamburger Y, Hayat Z. The impact of the Internet on the social lives of users:A representative sample from 13 countries. Comput Hum Behav. 2011;27(1):585-9.

Tokunaga RS. Following you home from school:a critical review and synthesis of research on cyber bullying victimization. Comput Hum Behav. 2010;26:277-87.

Finn J. A survey of online harassment at a university campus. J Interpersonal Violence. 2004;19:168-83.

Juvonen J, Gross EF. Extending the school grounds? Bullying experiences in cyberspace. J School Health. 2008;78 (9):496-505.

Safaria T. Prevalence and impact of cyberbullying in a sample of Indonesian junior high school students. Turk Online J Edu Tech. 2016;15(1):82-91.

Vilic V. Stalking and sexual harassment on the internet. Law and Politics. 2013;11(1):39-48.

Gradinger P, Strohmeier D, Spiel C. Traditional bullying, and cyberbullying:identification of risk groups for adjustment problems. J Psychol. 2009;217(4):205-13.

Houle JN, Staff J, Mortimer JT, Uggen C, Blackstone A. The impact of sexual harassment of depressive symptoms during the early occupational career. SocMent Health. 2011;1(2):89-105.

ICT Indicators in Brief, September 2016. Monthly Issue. Available at

eMarketing Egypt Online Competitiveness Intelligence report 2015. Available at ArabSocialMediaReport-2015.pdf. Accessed on 7 August 2017.

Elhawary S. Violence against women in Egypt CAPMAS, Egypt, 2009. Available at http://unstats. Accessed on 4 August 2017.

Ebaid N. Sexual harassment in Egypt:a neglected crime, an assessment for the Egyptian Government performance in regard to the sexual harassment in Egypt, 2013. Available at Accessed on 4 August 2017.

Kowalski RM, Limber SP. Psychological, physical, and academic correlates of cyberbullying and traditional bullying. J Adolesc Health. 2013;53:13-20.

Lindfors PL, Kaltiala-Heino R, Rimpelä AH. Cyberbullying among Finnish adolescents – a population-based study. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:1027.

Ojanen TT, Boonmongkon P, Smakkeekarom R, Samoh N, Cholratana M, Econ B, et al. Connections between online harassment and offline violence among youth in Central Thailand. Child Abuse Negl. 2015;44:159-69.

Olweus D. School bullying: Development and some important challenges. Annual Rev Clin Psychol. 2013;9:751-80.

Kowalski RM, Limber SP, Agatston PW. Cyberbullying: Bullying in the digital age. 2nd. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell; 2012.

Bridges A, Wosnitzer R. Aggression and sexual behavior in best-selling pornography:A content analysis update. International Communication Association 2007. about-the-issue/ facts-and-figures-2. Accessed on 12 August 2017.

Sticca F, Ruggieri S, Alsaker F, Perren S. Longitudinal risk Factors for cyberbullying in adolescence. J Comm Appl Socl Psych. 2013,23(1):52-67.

Nada KH, Suliman DA. Violence, abuse, alcohol and drug use, and sexual behaviors in street children of Greater Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt. AIDS, 2010;24(2):39-44.

Survey of young people in Egypt Final Report Population Council West Asia and North Africa Office.

Laws against sexual harassment in Egypt.

Fanti KA, Demetriou AG, Hawa VV. A longitudinal study of cyberbullying:examining risk and protective factors. Eur J Dev Psychol. 2012;9(2):168-81.

Haynie DL, Nansel T, Eitel P, Crump AD, Saylor K, Yu K,. Bullies, victims, and bully/victims:Distinct groups of at-risk youth. J Early Adolesc. 2001;21(1):29-49.

Smith PK, Mahdavi J, Carvalho M, Fisher S, Russell S, Tippett N. Cyberbullying:its nature and impact in secondary pupils. J Child Psycho and Psychi. 2008;49(4):376-85.

Saied SM, Elsabagh HM, El-Afandy AM. Internet and facebook addiction among Egyptian and Malaysian medical students:a comparative study, Tanta University, Egypt. Int J Community Med Public Health. 2016;3:1288-97.

Patchin JW, Hinduja S. Bullies move beyond the schoolyard:a preliminary look at cyberbullying. Youth Violence Juv Justice. 2006;4(2):148-69.

Arafa AE, Mahmoud OE, Senosy SA. The emotional impacts of different forms of cyberbullying victimization in Egyptian university students. Egypt. J Med Sci. 2015;36(2):867-80.

Hinduja S, Patchin JW. Offline consequences of online victimization: school violence and delinquency. J Sch Violence. 2007;6(3):89-112.




How to Cite

Arafa, A. E., Elbahrawe, R. S., Saber, N. M., Ahmed, S. S., & Abbas, A. M. (2017). Cyber sexual harassment: a cross-sectional survey over female university students in Upper Egypt. International Journal Of Community Medicine And Public Health, 5(1), 61–65.



Original Research Articles