Whether the protesters in Egypt are opposing Morsi or Mubarak, whether they are marching for or against an Islamist or secular state, one constant remains–women are sexually assaulted. This last Sunday, 46 sexual assaults were reported during a large gathering in Tahrir Square. These assaults usually consist of a mob of men which surrounds, strips and gropes the women.
And yet another female journalist was attacked:
But–naturally–it is all the fault of the assault victims themselves: “…some conservative religious clerics and government officials blame women, saying they invite harassment and sexual abuse by mixing with men.”
No matter what the cause, no matter what the revolution, no matter which religion is involved, we are always a convenient scapegoat and punching bag. Though it is not the same thing, I cannot help but think of the conservatives in this country, which are rallying their base by passing as many laws which are restrictive and punitive to women as they possibly can.
In the meantime, let’s give a shout-out to the heroes in this situation, Egypt’s Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment. These very brave people patrol the protests and try to rescue the women who are assaulted. They also frequently have to pay out of their own pocket to have the injured women admitted to private hospitals, as the public hospitals will often not accept them (arrghh). Yay for this courageous group, working in what must be a very dangerous setting for them.