Farah Shash ‘09 ‘12 Transcending the Pain

Farah Shash

Farah Shash ‘09 ‘12 the Chair of HarassMap, a volunteer-based organization working to end sexual harassment in Egypt, found her education aligning in powerful ways with contemporary events in Egypt. Having studied psychology as an undergraduate at AUC, she went on to pursue a master's in Community Psychology, which focuses on social, cultural, and economic factors that would help induce a sustainable change in society.

"My graduate experience was amazing because the revolution started after my first semester" said Shash. "As I studied  the principles of community psychology, such as social justice and equality, and how they play out on individual, community and national policy levels, I was seeing political and social change happening  all around me, from the student and worker movements at AUC to the struggle for human rights in Egypt at large."

After finishing her master's, Shash joined Al-Nadeem Center, an Egyptian nongovernmental organization established in 1993 that deals with human rights violations. The center divides its efforts between helping people who have been subjected to institutional, domestic, or sexual violence(rape, sexual assault or harassment), as well as other kinds of gender based discrimination.

Working as part of the women's project at the center, Shash conducts policy research on a variety of issues, from gender discrimination in the workplace to early marriage.

"We are consolidating efforts to keep the legal age of marriage for women from becoming less than 18," said Shash, who has collected data in 15 governorates and distributed more than 1000 surveys, seeking to understand people's opinions about the appropriate age for femal marriage.

Shash also provides counseling and psychological support to female victims of violence, particularly sexual violence. In addition to counseling these women, she is actively involved in policy research seeking to protect them from future abuse.

"There isn't one law in the entire Middle East that criminalizes domestic violence. That has to change, and I am proud to be part of that change." noted Shash