Source: Toronto Star
More mobs of “democracy-seekers” raping women in Egypt. Who else would be responsible for this? I can guarantee it’s the fundamentalists. They overthrow an Autocracy and exchange it for a Theocracy. Same shit, different pile. Except the Coptic Christians, women and other various minorities in Egypt would’ve preferred the somewhat stable life under Mubarak.
CAIRO—A mob of hundreds of men assaulted women marching in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to end sexual harassment in Egypt.
Witnesses say male supporters who were there to protect the march were overwhelmed by the mob. The women were assaulted for several minutes before some escaped to a nearby building.
Some of the marchers had been carrying posters that said, “The people want to cut the hand of the sexual harasser,” and chanting, “The Egyptian girl says it loudly, harassment is barbaric.”
Reports of assaults on women in Tahrir, the epicentre of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down last year, have been on the rise with a new round of mass protests to denounce a mixed verdict against the ousted leader and his sons in a trial last week, and to demand that Ahmed Shafiq, a former senior official in Mubarak’s ousted regime, be disqualified from next week’s presidential runoff.
Protesters and activists met Wednesday to organize a campaign to prevent sexual harassment in the square. They recognize it is part of a bigger social problem that has largely gone unpunished in Egypt. But the phenomenon is trampling on their dream of creating in Tahrir a model of a state that respects civil liberties and civic responsibility, which they had hoped would emerge after Mubarak’s ouster.
“Enough is enough,” said Abdel-Fatah Mahmoud, a 22-year-old engineering student, who met Wednesday with friends to organize patrols of the square in an effort to deter attacks against women. “No matter what is behind this, it is unacceptable. It shouldn’t be happening on our streets let alone Tahrir.”
No official numbers exist for attacks on women in the square because police do not go near the area, and women rarely report such incidents. But activists and protesters have reported a number of particularly violent assaults on women in the past week. Many suspect such assaults are organized by opponents of the protests to weaken the spirit of the protesters and drive people away.
Mahmoud said two of his female friends were cornered Monday and pushed into a small passageway by a group of men in the same area where the woman in the red shirt was assaulted. One was groped while the other was seriously assaulted, Mahmoud said, refusing to divulge specifics other than to insist she wasn’t raped.
Mona Seif, a well-known activist who has been trying to promote awareness about the problem, said Wednesday she was told about three different incidents in the past five days, including two that were violent. In one incident, the attackers ripped the woman’s clothes off and trampled on her companions, she said.
Women, who participated in the 18-day uprising that ended with Mubarak’s Feb. 11, 2011 ouster as leading activists, protesters, medics and even fighters to ward off attacks by security agents or affiliated thugs on Tahrir, have found themselves facing the same groping and assaults that have long plagued Egypt’s streets during subsequent protests in the square.
Seif said there is a responsibility inside Tahrir.
“I think it is getting worse because people don’t want to acknowledge it is happening or do something to reduce it,” said Seif. “It is our job to put an end to it, at least in Tahrir.”
A 2008 report by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights says two-thirds of women in Egypt experienced sexual harassment on a daily basis.
The post-Mubarak political reality for women also has deteriorated. They have lost political ground in the 16 months since Mubarak’s ouster — even winning fewer seats in parliament in the first free and fair elections in decades. The 508-member parliament has only eight female legislators, a sharp drop from the more than 60 in the 2010 parliament thanks to a Mubarak-era quota. Women’s rights groups also fear the growing power of Islamist groups will lead to new restrictions.