Anger. Disgust. Fear. Sadness. Humiliation.
Those who sexually assault women in Tahrir, are branded on the face as a punishment
Stop what you’re doing RIGHT NOW and watch this video.
While millions of Egyptians are risking their lives to rebuild this country and secure a better tomorrow for our children, there are animals that are taking advantage of large protests to conduct mob sexual assaults on women.
Women that are similarly laying their lives on the line for their country.
Women that were at the forefront of the revolution on January 25th, 2011.
Women that could be their sisters, daughters or wives.
The purported “freedom” of speech we gained with the fall of Mubarak two years ago brought with it a sense of empowerment. Egyptians now take to the streets in the hundreds, thousands or millions to voice their opinions and demand accountability from their government. What this also does, however, is providing a new avenue for sexual harassment that has never been witnessed. Large scale gatherings that can often be/become disorganized, chaotic and violent. It is precisely for these reasons that mobs take advantage of protests to commit acts of sexual harassment against women. As I am writing this, I am switching between feelings of anger, disgust, fear, sadness and humiliation.
Watch this video. See what has become of our country. And just to drive the point home, read along to this English transcription.
“This is not a fight. There is a girl stuck inside this circle. This girl is being sexually assaulted. Right now, there are 3-4 hands inside her pants, and 3-4 inside her blouse. There are about 10 people pulling at her from every direction, and there is one taking off her shoes right now so that his colleague who’s taking off her pants can do so easily. There is a man holding the girl right now and telling her he’s protecting her. The truth is he is also sexually assaulting her, and his hands are in her undergarments right now.
There is a man taking off his pants to give them to her. There is another taking off his jacket, and another trying to cover her, and tens trying to stop them with knives.
The men trying to help her are telling her to run. The girl is screaming and trying to tell them that those around them are not trying to help them [but] are pulling her back, that she’s scared she’s going to fall, that someone is trying to take off her pants again, but no one can hear her. This girl can’t breathe from the pushing and pulling and is about to faint, but thank God she is not wearing a scarf so they can’t strangle her with it as they did to the second girl. Or the third girl, whom they violated with a knife. Or the fourth and fifth girls that were dragged inside cars but thankfully managed to escape. Or the mother who was violated in front of her children.
These girls were gang raped, publicly, for all to see. These girls did not think they would make it out alive. These girls won’t receive any visits from people heralding their heroism. Because no one wants to know about these girls. No one wants to hear [about], read [about] or see these girls.
But we will not stay silent. We will not be broken. We will not be ashamed.
Tahrir Square and its surrounding areas are the scenes of mob sexual assaults/rapes. Go down and help fight against sexual assaults because we have no intention of staying at home. This Midan is our Midan. This revolution is our revolution. And we will fight this battle until our dying breath.”
If this brought you to tears, I’m glad.
If it shook you to your core, it should.
If you can’t wrap your mind around how horrific this is, you are human.
I don’t care about reasons. I don’t give a shit about conspiracy theories. I could care less about social, religious, economic, political motivations for these actions. NOTHING. I refuse to hear it. THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN. NO HUMAN BEING SHOULD EVER BE SUBJECTED TO THIS. NO WOMAN SHOULD BE MADE TO FEAR FOR HER LIFE, LEAST OF ALL WHEN SHE IS FIGHTING FOR HER COUNTRY.
I have said this time and time again, and I will continue to say it – the best thing to come out of this revolution is that sexual harassment has been [quite literally] dragged into the public arena. While this may seem disheartening to some, I disagree. Initiatives like Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment (which created this video and whom I thank profusely for it) and Tahrir Bodyguard are not only actively working to protect women in Tahrir, but are doing so as part of a larger push to safeguard women’s participation in public political life. Women are now taking to the airwaves, using broadcast and social media, to discuss their harrowing accounts of sexual harassment. This in a country where the stigma associated with sexual harassment can NEVER be overstated.
I thank every member of this initiative, and any others, that are in the streets to protect my safety. I thank every woman that has come forward and openly discussed her pain in order to give strength to others. I wish I could discuss this matter further, come up with some powerful ending, but I can’t. I honestly can’t put my feelings into words. All I can do is thank those who are stronger than me, apologize to those who have been subjected to this, and openly condemn ANYONE who has ever participated in the slightest act of sexual harassment. Whether its mob assaults of this scale, or supposedly innocent cat-calling, you disgust me and you are the reason your fellow country women feel unsafe in their own nation.
We Said This: Get involved with Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment or Tahrir Bodygaurd Help in any way you can. There is not a single human being that is not affected by this. Whether it’s you, your sister, your wife, your daughter, your coworkers, or someone who fought alongside you on the frontlines of the revolution. You owe them. You owe US.