NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Sexual Harassment of Women is State Sponsored Say Egyptian Women


    Systematic attacks targeting female protesters in Tahrir square have forced an ugly epidemic into the national spotlight. -   February 10, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


    I support The Real News Network because it is one of the few remaining political voices of the people. - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Transcript

    Sexual Harassment of Women is State Sponsored Say Egyptian WomenJIHAN HAFIZ, TRNN CORRESPONDENT, CAIRO: It's a grim reality that has lately united Egyptian women from all walks of life. Two years of increased sexualized violence against female protesters has forced an ugly epidemic into the national spotlight. The gang rapes and attacks on women in the revolution's iconic Tahrir Square enraged many Egyptians to organize this protest specifically against sexualized violence. Angry chants condemned a system that condones and perpetuates violence targeting women.

    JIHAN FADEL, EGYPTIAN ACTRESS (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): There was harassment before the revolution, but what we have now is gangs. I'm talking about 30, 40, 50 men attacking with knives. That's not harassment. They're attacking women with pocket knives. Is that harassment? These are crimes.

    HAFIZ: Increased attacks singling out female protesters exploded over the past two years, culminating in scenes like this on January 25 last month. Volunteers and activists with anti-harassment campaigns filmed these mob attacks against women this past January 25.

    UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): That's Reem! There's Reem! She's in that one! There is another girl!

    HAFIZ: Some of them were their fellow volunteers. Here one woman tries to comfort her infant daughter as a mob moves in. Inside these mobs, over a dozen women were gang-raped, relentlessly groped, stripped naked of their clothes, and assaulted with knives and iron rods. In one case, a 19-year-old girl was rushed to emergency surgery with large gashes to her genitalia. Such savagery has provoked women to arm themselves, brandishing their weapons during this march as a clear warning to their attackers.

    ~~~

    REPORTER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Why are you holding this knife in the march?

    DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Because no one is going to force us into our homes, no one is going to scare us into hiding in our homes. and we are going to arm ourselves to defend ourselves. And any dog who dares to come near us, I will slice him! These crimes are orchestrated. It's a social disease and it's present in this society. But what is happening now is organized crime.

    ~~~

    HAFIZ: Rights groups and activists are convinced the systematic attacks are products of state-sponsored repression.

    LODNA DARWISH, ORGANIZER, OPANTISH: This is not the first time that the government uses sexual violence to intimidate men and women, especially women. We've been seeing, since Mubarak years until now, the government paying thugs—and it's proven—to come and sexually harass women. They would come to the protest and not beat up women, just sexually harass them, undress them, drag them undressed—and everybody probably saw the video of the blue-bra girl who was stripped of her clothes and dragged on the streets. This was the army. And then there was the virginity test, the so-called virginity test, which was like a rape incident of the army again, forcing 18 women to go through virginity tests. So it's a continuous pattern of sexual humiliation.

    UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Hi. I'm with the campaign against sexual harassment. If there is any harassment in the square—.

    HAFIZ: A number of newly-formed campaigns combating sexual harassment have been mobilizing within communities and on the streets.

    DEMONSTRATORS (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): We the women will free Egypt!

    HAFIZ: As the march roars through this busy neighborhood, scuffles break out between some of the female marchers and male onlookers.

    DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): He said women are raped and harassed depending on how they dress. So I shamed him! In Arabic and English! I said, does anyone leave their home naked? Even if she dressed indecent, would she leave her home naked? Dog! That's the Brotherhood's mentality! They do this so we go back to our homes. But we will never!

    HAFIZ: Although daily harassment is prevalent in this socially conservative society, the subject is often ignored when addressed.

    ~~~

    DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I no longer take my wife out because of harassment.

    DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): We take a short trip on the metro, and I get into 36 fights.

    DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): No, no.

    DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): We don't have the money to take a cab. If we take any public transportation, I have to sit her far against the window.

    DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): No, no! There is no such thing!

    DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Don't put Egypt in that category.

    ~~~

    SALMA SAID, ORGANIZER, OPANTISH: We're not only facing the problem of harassment, of sexual harassment; we're also facing a huge problem of society wanting to be silent about it, the men being extremely aggressive when anyone trying to discuss what is happening.

    HAFIZ: A recent study found over 80 percent of Egyptian women and over 95 percent of foreign women have experienced sexual harassment. Videos of mob assaults of women started appearing on YouTube years before the revolution. Salma was among some of the first to blog about it several years ago.

    SAID: And I wrote my testimony about the time, the many, many, many times that I was sexually abused or sexually harassed from when I was a child till, like, now. And I asked other women to write about it as well, because I was—I mean, I was going to go—going crazy because men said that these things don't happen in Egypt and that Egypt is a religious country and these kind of things. So it happened, and I was sure that the same people who were saying this are the people who are harassing women in the street.

    HAFIZ: Considered a taboo subject, victims are commonly blamed for the attack while the perpetrator is let off.

    FADEL: But no one speaks out against it. Why? Because the victim is a woman, because they argue: what brought her there in the first place? Why is she in the streets? Women are supposed to be at home. Those who come to the streets are indecent. Rather than elicit a response, people are mocking it [rather] than responding to it.

    HAFIZ: In the urban slums and among the rural poor, the issue is practically ignored.

    UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): There is no religion. There's no life. There is no father who tells their sons, that's wrong. There is no concern for it. No one walks in the street and considers, this could be my mother or sister and it might happen to her. There is no such talk.

    UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): It used to be just one individual, not the entire society against the girl. And there is no distinction. It doesn't matter if she's covered, showing her hair, elderly, a child. There is no distinction.

    UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I sat down and had a talk with my daughter, because rape and harassment also happens between teachers and the girls, to children my daughter's age. Of course, she is just a child. She doesn't understand anything. But I speak with her, and so does Sheren. We tell her not to go into the bathroom with the teacher.

    HAFIZ: These women have quietly formed a support group to deal with harassment and sexual abuse in their community.

    UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): She didn't have any pants on.

    HAFIZ: The silence is slowly being broken. Public discussion is opening up after the latest survivors of the mob attacks braved the backlash and recounted their experiences on national television.

    UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I felt as if I would die in that moment.

    SAID: They have done an amazing favor for the rest of us, for everyone else, because they didn't worry about facing their neighbors, their families. They were like, it's not our fault that we were assaulted; it's your fault, it's society's fault, it's the men's fault, it's the government's fault; and we are not going to suffer above our suffering from what happened; we have to solve this, and we're going to speak up and we're going to talk about it and we're going to, like, make it explode in everyone's faces.

    HAFIZ: But it remains a long upward battle in this patriarchal society. A sheikh from the prominent Al-Azhar Institution issued a fatwa encouraging the rape of women during protests.

    During Friday's protests and on the front lines during clashes, women roamed amongst their male counterparts, asserting their resolve and participation in Egypt's ongoing revolution will remain.

    Jihan Hafiz for The Real News, Cairo, Egypt.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting