- Harassment: sexual violence, the weapon of the Egyptian regime
- Machismo. "He told me he would rape me and then he would have to accept any violation."
The images show with total crudeness the horror. A young woman is harassed, shaken and sexually assaulted by a mob of men. The victim screams while her executioners, even with sticks, prevent her from getting into a vehicle trying to help her. The video barely lasts 46 seconds, but the sequence does not include the beginning of the nth case of the epidemic of sexual harassment that Egypt has been going through for years.
The frames of the attack - registered in the city of Mansura, 120 kilometers northeast of Cairo - and the impunity that has happened to the assault have spread the outrage among the punished community of local activists. "What happened confirms what Egyptian feminists have been saying for years about the epidemic of sexual violence and rapes in the public sphere, especially at the hands of these types of gangs that use sexual torture," denounces EL MUNDO Mozn Hasan, director of the Nazra feminist organization, persecuted by the regime.
According to the police report, the 20-year-old victim was walking through the city, near the campus of the local university, accompanied by a friend when a group of young people began to photograph and harass them. One of the group members even tried to touch his leg. "We tried to take refuge in a mobile phone shop, but the owner asked us to leave because the young people had gathered in the immediate vicinity of the business and threw insults," said the twenty-year-old.
It was then, when leaving the establishment, when the events captured on video and disseminated through social networks occurred. The crowd surrounding one of the victims even climbed up the car that had come to help her to abort her escape. The young woman, traumatized, chose not to report the attack and return home. The snapshots forced the security forces to open an investigation.
Several dozen people were arrested, but in recent days the alleged suspects have been regaining their freedom. According to some witnesses, one of the women - a student from a university in the city - could have been seriously injured if a group of men had not come to her rescue. The legal persecution of the perpetrators of the attack, however, is over before even starting. The victim has not recognized the detainees.
"There is no confidence in Justice. The young woman says she does not recognize them as her aggressors. The Egyptian police are known for making random arrests with the sole purpose of satisfying and closing court cases," Fathi Farid, coordinator of the Security against sexual violence initiative, one of the groups established in recent years to fight against a phenomenon that never stops.
In 2014, the regime of former army chief Abdelfatah al Sisi recognized the seriousness of a ubiquitous epidemic manifested in friction, gestures and insults - by enacting a law against harassment that includes sentences of up to five years in prison and fines that reach 5,000 Euros Reality, however, continues to be more bleak.
The flashes of the last onslaught against a woman have dusted off the memory of the mobs that followed during the massive demonstrations in the Cairota square of Tahrir after the sunset of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, linked by an organized and systematic 'modus operandi'. "It is a repetition of the collective sexual harassment that occurred since the revolution of January 25, 2011. There are no measures that prevent it. We are all responsible, society and the State, but it is the authorities that are most to blame in everything that is happening, " says Farid.
Discrimination and gender violence continue to parade through all classes. In a report prepared in 2017 by UN Women, 75% of men and 84% of women argued that women "who dress provocatively deserved to be harassed." Seven years ago, a similar investigation revealed that 99.3 percent of respondents had been victims of some form of sexual harassment in the most populous country in the Arab world, where child marriage and female genital mutilation are still in force.
The seconds of horror that the video exhibits have broken the silence of a civil society drowned by the vast campaign of repression signed by the security apparatus. "Can, please, the Egyptian authorities stop denying that there is no sexual harassment in Egypt?" The feminist Amel Fahmi pleaded on her Facebook profile.
"Our fight is far from over. We must admit that harassment remains a serious problem," added activist Soraya Bahgat. Last October, a teenager was mortally stabbed while trying to defend a girl who suffered harassment. The perpetrators of the murder, three other teenagers, were sentenced to 15 years in prison last month.
The progressive release of those involved in the assault on Mansura has canceled the slightest adjustment of accounts. "The State has a great responsibility. We lack a law that criminalizes violence against women. The current legal process does not help women to speak and denounce. We have dealt with this issue a thousand times and there is no political action. The only thing that has In fact, the State is to persecute feminist associations and not allow us to document cases of sexual violence, "Hasan concludes.
According to the criteria of The Trust ProjectKnow more
- Gender violence
- Sexual aggressions
- Sexual abuse
- sexual harassment
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