The following piece was written by a civil society activist living in Cairo.
Women in Egypt are facing a difficult turning point, as they are trying to fight against a political and social crackdown from both security and extreme religious groups since International Women’s Day, when women were attacked in Tahrir Square during a demonstration for women’s rights.
We have a dim hope for women’s presence in the next parliament, and now we have violence and sexual harassment for female demonstrators who have their sex used as a tool to humiliate them. We have all seen women being harassed, beaten, undressed, pulled from their hair and threatened to be raped in detention areas close to demonstrations.
Using gender for systematic humiliation for women has become common in Egypt. Before the Revolution, it was common to threaten women in detention centers with rape or sexual assault. This unfortunately has not changed after the Revolution. With the absence of law recently, the whole situation became disastrous.
The violence towards women that we have all seen in the media lately is a shame that will never be forgotten easily, though no serious investigations of crimes towards civilians have been done since the Revolution.
We still have not received any information about virginity tests that were carried out in the spring, yet the state media and other outlets waged a media campaign to blame these despicable acts on the victims for taking part in demonstrations, for being in the wrong place, or for attacking the army. This will have a dangerous effect on our society in the future, when these acts and sorts of behavior against women become acceptable.
All these acts go unpunished, as far as we know. We have seen no investigations, no results, not even a decent apology and no serious work to avoid this happening again. This will have serious implications on our society, especially when the media creates excuses and sells them to the public and make this behavior acceptable.
I am so upset and outraged these days by what happened and is still happening!
Egyptians rally in Cairo to denounce army’s violence against protesters, abuse of women – Washington Post
Egyptian Military Adviser Calls Attack on Woman Justified – The New York Times
Egypt unrest: Women protest against army violence – BBC