women exposed in egypt
Last updated on September 20th, 2023 at 10:43 am
Women in Egypt who had gone to authorities to report crime, have reported back being mistreated, groped and sexually assaulted by the same authorities themselves. Many had witnessed a crime, been sexually abused already or were reporting possibility of a crime. All of them were sexually assaulted.
Owing to the fact that Egypt is a patriarchal society per say, most of these crimes described by these women, have been sexual violations committed either in police stations, prisons or even in the local hospitals.
Some occurred during routine searches by the police or prison guards, the women who came out and spoke to a well-known American media agency. Others were carried out by state-employed doctors ordered to conduct invasive physical exams, including so-called virginity tests.
Sexual assault victims are mostly shunned and disparaged in the Egyptian society. This is one reason, many of these crimes have never been reported by the women. However, human rights groups, experts, lawyers and therapists can vouch for the fact that there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that this kind of violence against women by the ones meant to protect them, happens frequently.
Strangely, last year Egypt had approved a new law to protect the identity of women who come forward to report sexual harassment or assault in a move that aimed to encourage women to report cases of sexual violence.
That doesn’t seem to be working. When questioned, government officials have invariably denied any mishandling of women in Egypt. One police officer, however, who worked for years in a police precinct and a prison, said that sexual abuse of women by legal authorities was “everywhere.” Speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was afraid of retribution, he said that the aim was not to gather evidence or search for contraband but to “humiliate your humanity.”
Apparently, in the end of June, the Egyptian Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee of the House of Representative has already approved a draft law, submitted by the Mostakbal Watan Party, which holds the majority in Parliament, calling for the amendment of the provisions of the Penal Code related to sexual harassment.
Those found guilty of verbal sexual harassment in a private or public place will face up to four years in prison and a fine of between 100,000 pounds and 200,000 pounds). Those indulging in physical abuse maybe imprisoned for up to seven years or fined 500,000 Egyptian pounds. Apparently, this move has come after a recent case of sexual abuse surfaced on the social media under the #MeToo movement in Egypt. Hundreds of women came out in the open to talk about similar instances.