Sunday, January 29, 2012
Foreign Woman Attacked in Egypt’s Tahrir Square
CHALLAH @ Bikya Masr
A foreign woman was stripped and sexually assaulted on Wednesday evening in Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square, one eyewitness said on Twitter and another confirmed in an email to Bikyamasr.com.
The woman, who’s identity has not been revealed, was taken away in an ambulance after being assaulted for 10 minutes. Her husband reportedly was unable to intervene and witnessed the incident.
“I saw the woman and then dozens of men surrounded her and started grabbing her, when she screamed for help some people came, but they were hit in the face,” wrote one witness.
What happened next was “appalling,” said the trusted witness, who asked for anonymity. “The men just started tearing at her clothes and grabbing her body all over. When she fought back, they pushed her. It was chaos.”
There were unconfirmed reports that the men “violated” her with their hands.
The report adds some interesting and shocking statistics:
Instances of sexual assaults on female journalists covering the events in Tahrir Square have continued in the year since Mubarak’s ouster. According to studies conducted by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Right (ECWR) in 2008, 98 percent of foreign women and 83 percent of Egyptian women surveyed had experienced sexual harassment in Egypt.
Meanwhile, 62 percent of Egyptian men confessed to harassing women and 53 percent of Egyptian men faulted women for “bringing it on.”
This assault should bring forth memories of the assaults on Lara Logan, Mona Eltahway, and Caroline Sanz.
Update: Bikya Masr now has an interview with the attacked foreigner.
“They started fighting over who was going to do what,” Heather told Bikyamasr.com in an exclusive interview. She came forward after seeing the report on a foreign woman who was stripped naked and assaulted only hours after her own incident.
“My roommates and I fell to the ground when they attacked us. The people pulled our pants off even as we yelled and tried to fight,” she continued.
The incident occurred around 7:30 PM local time, just as night was taking hold of the city. Heather said the attack happened “in the center of Tahrir.”
She said that after the men pulled their pants off, they continued to grab and grobe the women’s bodies. “It is disgusting. They put fingers up my ass,” she revealed.
Later in the report we learn
Heather said that she came forward to talk about what happened to her “because people need to know what goes on. It is the only way to start making it a problem that will have to be dealt with.”
However, many people told her to not reveal what happened to her because she was told, “it would hurt the image of the revolution.” But Heather said after seeing the reports of others and their assaults, “I felt it was right to say something.”
Update: In a third article at Bikya Masr, Joseph Mayton adds:
At least four women have been reported to have had their clothes ripped from their bodies, assault and groped endlessly by mobs of men in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Certainly more reports of assaults will flood editors’ email in the coming days. It seems whenever there is a mass protest in Egypt it is accompanied by attacks against women.
Egyptians have attempted to avoid the situation plaguing society for far too long. If it happens to a foreigner, they apologize, but if it happens to their sister, their mother, their girlfriend, their spouse, there has always been a tacit denial of any real problem. Instead of trying to save face, what should be happening is a real dialogue, a real open discussion about the causes of sexual violence in society. Without one, these women will not be the last victims of sexual brutality.
Update: Below is a video of the incident.