About Khaled Sayed

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Violence Against Women as a Political Tactic

Today I met with Dr. Farah Shash a Psychologist at the El Nadim center. El Nadim Center is non-profit clinic that offers help to victims of violence and torture. This year they have been doing a lot of work with sexual harassment and rape victims as well.

According to Dr. Shash, there were 22 acts of violence against women in Tahrir Square in one day alone on January 25, 2013 on the Anniversary of the January 25th revolution. All of the victims were part of the protests against the Muslim Brotherhood regime and President Mohammed Morsi.

“Rape and violence against women have been used politically before in 2006, under the Mubarak regime,” Dr. Shash said. “Now we are seeing the same tactic being used again, to scare women from participating in political protests against the current regime”

When I asked her to explain the point of using sexual violence and rape against women in the Tahrir Square she said, ”when people go out to protest they have a goal; the goal is to be heard. And when women get attacked in Tahrir, men start protecting them, and the whole protest is focused on the sexual harassment, or the violence against women.

"Basically it breaks their stand against the regime, that is one, and second it embeds the fear in women's minds, and the minds of their families. Who would let their daughter, wife, or sister go to Tahrir if they are risking sexual harassment and rape happening there?”

The use of rape and sexual assaults on women as a political tactic is familiar to Egyptians. We saw it under Mubarak, and we see it today under Morsi. The use of such intimidation shows how little real legitimacy these groups have.

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