Post by Katie Rosenthal
Women in Egypt have taken a stand to end Violence against Women. The country has been the site of well publicised recent social and political disruption, during which sexual violence against women has increased. Sexual harassment of women is a frequent occurrence on the streets of Cairo, and may take the form of shouted obscenities.
Dozens of women and volunteers took to Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square to combat the “epidemic” and demand a safe community, as one of a series of events aimed at raising awareness of sexual violence.
Two recent incidents have placed a spotlight on sexual assaults in Egypt, but have failed to illicit any affirmative action from the country’s authorities. During the celebrations at the former president’s downfall US reporter Lara Logan endured a vicious gang rape, and was eventually rescued from her ordeal by another woman. Months later a French journalist was also violently beaten and sexually assaulted. These two high profile incidents have raised the international profile of the violence facing women in the Muslim country, but do not do justice to the true depth of the problem.
The march was attended by only a small number of brave protesters, who were outnumbered by journalist eager to cover the event. Many male bystanders shouted their support and encouragement to the women. One of the organisers of the march protested that “we want to be treated as citizens, not females”.