Monday, 4 February 2013

What it's like to be sexually assaulted in Tahrir, and what can be done about it

Sexual harassment in Egypt is not new. It's been going on for years. But lately, it has become more violent, and the attacks have become politicised. It's being used as a weapon against women in their struggle for independence and a better future. It is being used to discourage them from protesting, from speaking their mind, from fighting for their rights.

There have been a number of initiatives trying to stop the attacks. The video below gives a good insight of what is going on and what is being done to try and stop it.


In this video by the independent media collective Mosireen, the issue is raised whether these are organised attacks. "These assault are all happening in the same way, which makes us think they are organised." Men are getting paid to do this.

For Arabic speakers, here's one of the women that got raped on Tahrir, telling her story on national tv.

Here you can read a testimony, translated into English, of one of the anti-sexual harassment volunteers that ended up getting severely assaulted herself.

The fact these women are coming forward to talk about what happened to them is an important shift in Egyptian culture. where it is generally the woman that gets blamed for the rape or assault. A woman that has been raped brings shame upon her family for no longer being a virgin, so it's better not to talk about it and ignore the matter.

Finally, here you can see for yourself what a sexual assault in Tahrir looks like.

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