in brief: reports of rape amidst egypt’s revolt
Women have been raped and assaulted during this week’s protests in Tahrir Square — a reality that is in stark contrast to images of women fiercely demonstrating alongside men during the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
Egypt’s Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault, a crisis hotline for sexual assault victims, has reported over 100 incidents of sexual violence against women during four days of protests. 46 of these occurred last Sunday.
One victim is a Dutch journalist, who was assaulted and gang raped while covering the protests. But many of the targets are Egyptian women.
It was hoped that Morsi’s government would herald a new era of women’s rights in Egypt; however, there has been a marked upsurge of attacks against women since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011.
The Saudi Gazette reported similar incidents of sexual assault in Tahrir Square during demonstrations to mark the second anniversary of the revolution earlier this year.
Egypt’s military have now overthrown President Morsi, after the Islamist leader failed to meet the military’s ultimatum to resolve the country’s crisis.
International leaders have focused on the political implications of Egypt’s revolt, largely ignoring the role of women in Egypt’s newly fractured polity. President Obama condemned Morsi’s overthrow, and – in a White House statement – argued that Egyptians deserve an ‘honest, capable, and representative government.’
Human Rights Watch blames Egypt’s leaders for the heightened violence against women, maintaining: ‘rampant sexual attacks during the Tahrir Square protests highlight the failure of the government and all political parties to face up to the violence that women in Egypt experience on a daily basis in public space.’
By Farz Edraki