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Woman stripped, beaten and sexually assaulted at Tahrir Square

June 9, 2014


Yesterday thousands of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate the inauguration of Egypt’s seventh president Abdelfatah El Sisi. While many television networks have been featuring footage of large unified crowds cheering and holding Egyptian flags, one YouTube user posted a video from Tahrir Square, shot on his mobile phone, which documented a much grimmer reality for the country.

The original video, which was removed from YouTube due to its graphic nature, shows a naked, injured woman, attempting to flee a large group of men who have sexually assaulted her in the middle of the square.

The sexual assault was reposted by YouTube user Marwan Arafah, and already has over 148,000 views [Please note: Egyptian Streets removed the video at the request of the victim].

In another video that has gone viral, a Tahrir Channel correspondent is shown reporting live from Tahrir Square. During the report, she mentions a high number of sexual harassment cases. Before she is finished with her report, the in-studio anchor talks over her and states “they are just happy.”

The Ministry of Interior released a statement claiming that it had arrested seven men between the ages of 15 and 49 for sexually assaulting “a number of women” and for injuring a police officer.

Sexual assault epidemic

Although the sexual assault epidemic is nothing new in Egypt, recently there has been an extended initiative by the government to crack down on the issue. Before stepping down last week, Interim President Adly Mansour passed a law criminalizing all forms of sexual harassment, regardless of the medium through which it occurs.

A new article, which has been issued into power, adds a harsh punishment to those found guilty of unwanted sexual contact. Violators of this law will be punished with a minimum of one year in prison and a fine between EGP 10,000 and EGP 20,000.

If such sexual contact is by an authority figure, whether it be in the work place, at school or even at home, then the punishment would be a prison sentence of at least two years and a fine between EGP 20,000 and EGP 50,000.

Other amended laws, under article 306, declare that those found guilty of verbal sexual harassment in a private or public place will be sentenced to a minimum of six months in prison and fined no less than EGP 3,000 ($US 420).

These new laws come after several television hosts have discussed cases of sexual harassment occurring at universities throughout the country, while blaming women for provoking their aggressor through their clothing choices.

In his talk show, Egyptian presenter Tamer Amin of Egypt Today, declared that clothing choice is not a personal freedom, while accusing women of going to the universities not to study but in order to drive male attention.

Amin also blames the security guards at the schools who allow the women into the universities with their “provocative clothing.”

With the increase of transparency through videos like last night’s horrific footage, it has become increasingly difficult to sweep such issues of sexual harassment under the rug. However, it remains to be seen how effective these laws will be in creating safer streets for Egyptian women.

Comments (137)

  1. Yolanda Moerkens says:

    Stripping and assaulting a woman has nothing to do with men being happy. Same with going to university, women can choose the way they want to dress and this doesn’t give men the freedom to assoult them. What’s this for kind of nonsence Amin? By saying this you mean men cannot control themselves and are savages? Happy with this new law and hope they will be punished hard!

    1. Kimberley K. Wells says:

      Rape is not about sex, it is about control. This was not a lone male attacking a woman on the street, this was a mob with a mob mentality who thought because everyone else was doing it that is was ok that they join in, or not do a damn thing about it.

    2. PRAFTD says:

      Ugh, when will people stop saying this. Rape is rape. Sometimes it’s about sex. Sometimes it’s about power. Sometimes it’s a spur of the moment choice with no real thought going into it.

      The whole “rape is about control” thing is just a dumb feminist claim made years ago that, for some reason, some women started to cling onto. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to back the claim up. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

      Rape is almost always about men wanting sex. Very rarely is it a simple power play.

      However, this situation was neither about sex or power. This was crazed, frothing mob mentality. Nothing more and nothing less. There was no bad intent, just an unthinking mob.

      Saying that rape is “about control” just shows ignorance. Please refrain from spreading that myth like it is a fact.

    3. Schmoogalicious says:

      Baloney. Studies have clearly shown that men rape for power. Many male rapists are married or have consensual sexual partners. It is not about sexual desire.

    4. Feindflug66 says:

      Just shut the fuck up and provide evidence, dear feminist party. Where are your peer reviewed papers to back up your opinion?

    5. Ann Veja says:

      Rape IS about power. A male is physically stronger than a female – well, in most of the cases – so if he wants something he can and often does take whatever he wants, because he knows he can. Do you think person A seeing, that person B in front of him is stronger than A, would attempt, let’s say for the sake of the case, raping B because A just simply wants sex? And if to go deeper into the psychology of people (let’s call them A) who force other people to do something what they do not want – these people (A) always operate on the perception that their needs are most important and world is there to serve them first of all. In other words they feel as if they own everything. So if it is not power and control issues, I don’t know what is that then… (we are not talking here about cases of mentally disabled rapists)

    6. PRAFTD says:

      Yup, the man who sees and unconscious woman at a party, clearly has sex with her to “control” her.

      Believe it or not, almost all rapes do not involve a man jumping out of the shadows and subduing a woman. Most involve drunken or unconscious sex where the woman doesn’t even resist or realize it until the next day.

    7. Kristina says:

      PRAFT- you are 100% wrong and uninformed. Wrong without exception. Numerous studies have shown that rape is about power, not sex.

    8. PRAFTD says:

      What studies? Provide them. Please also provide source citations, the methodology of the study, and all those involved in the study.

      A simple webpages that you googled does not cut it. I want a peer-reviewed, scientifically backed paper.

      I will tell you straight off, there have been numerous studies on the issue, all stating different things. There is absolutely no consensus that rape is about “control”.

      Rape has, and always will be, an act to be judged on a case-by-case basis.

  2. I can only hope that Egyptian Police are able to identify the responsible men from the video clips and make examples of them under the new law. Mustapha Tahir @MustaphaTahir