The Silent Wound

Since the 2011 Egyptian revolution, reporting incidences of sexual assault have increased at an alarming rate.

According to UN Women, 99.3% of Egyptian females have suffered sexual harassment in Egypt, while 91.5% have experienced unwelcome physical contact. “It’s better to be silent; if you scream for help or hit back to protest, you will face more problems,” said Alia Ali, a 22 year-old activist, who survived mob sexual assault in Tahrir Square. “No one will help you; you will even be blamed for the way you dress, even if you wear a hijab. It is always your fault because you are a girl on the street walking alone without any male!”

Sexual harassment has increased alarmingly since the 2011 Egyptian revolution, taking the form of organized attacks such as gang rape. Women played a key role in the protests, taking part in the demonstrations along with their male friends. According to the women I photographed, the government had historically used sexual violence as a weapon against women in a bid to suppress the voice of the public. Egypt is a conservative country, where the concept of honor plays an important role. The individual is subordinate to the family, and to admit to being a victim of rape would equate admitting that the family was not able to protect the individual. The shame may be even worse to bear than the actual rape.

Egyptian women face obstructions even in the justice system. The Shura Council’s human rights committee has accused female protestors of being prostitutes, with Major General Adel Afify even being quoted in the local newspaper, Al-Masry Al-Youm, as saying, “By getting herself involved in such circumstances, the woman has 100 percent responsibility.”

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One thought on “The Silent Wound

  1. Hi Farzana,

    Would you consider having this story published on Panorama, a photo blog based in Egypt focussed on telling untold stories from the region?

    We pay a small fee to our contributors.

    Cheers,

    Rob

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