Friday, March 25, 2011

The "New" Egypt: "Virginity Tests" for Protesters

Originally posted at MyFDL/Firedoglake

While I've little time to blog today, this particular story seemed especially worthy of promotion. Amnesty International has sent the following mailing to its supporters (emphasis in original):
The Egyptian military may have just hit a disturbing, new low: at least 18 women who were arrested during a peaceful protest in Tahrir Square on March 9 said they were forced to take "virginity tests".

Those women were threatened with charges of prostitution if they "failed" the tests. One woman, who said she was a virgin but whose test supposedly proved otherwise, was beaten and given electric shocks.
Journalist William Fisher at The Public Record rightly notes, "I know this sounds like something out of Torquemada in the 15th Century or Mengele in the 20th. But it’s neither. It’s post-Mubarak Egypt in the second decade of the 21st Century."
Twenty-year-old Salwa Hosseini told Amnesty International that after she was arrested and taken to a military prison in Heikstep, she was made, with the other women, to take off all her clothes to be searched by a female prison guard, in a room with two open doors and a window. During the strip search, Hosseini said male soldiers were looking into the room and taking pictures of the naked women.

The women were then subjected to ‘virginity tests’ in a different room by a man in a white coat....

According to information received by Amnesty International, one woman who said she was a virgin but whose test supposedly proved otherwise was beaten and given electric shocks.

‘Virginity tests’ are a form of torture when they are forced or coerced.
Amnesty International is asking people to write to Hillary Clinton to get her "to use her influence to demand immediate action." I am less sanguine that she will either a) do that, or b) really give a damn.

Those who thought the "revolution" was over don't understand that it's hardly begun, and can easily be derailed onto the same old paths. The military in Egypt is not to be trusted, and those who think it will reform that country are terribly mistaken. What will it take to end illusions in such ideas?


Anonymous said...

Women are treated like animals in the hand of Egyptian military. How can all the men in Egypt accept it? I am wondering what they are thinking about it.

Gerard said...

This is pretty much rape and should be treated as a sex crime. I knew Mubarak had no intention of stepping down or ending his reign of terror and abuse.

Anonymous said...

I think it's more than rape. It's not just an attack to a single woman. It's an attack to all the women in Egypt so that they would never ever dare to demonstrate in public.

Anonymous said...

I don't think most Egyptians have such illusions, because they cannot go back, they have been changed forever by this "revolution". It's like: you were a slave before, once you know what a freeman feels like, you can never be a slave again.

Anonymous said...

From the Afghanistani girl whose nose and ears were cut off by her husband, to the Iranian woman who was sentenced to stone death, to the CBS news reporter who was sexual assaulted in Cairo, to these Egyptian women who were forced to have virginity tests, to Libya's Eman al-Obeidy, I really have enough. How can the whole world accept things like these and do nothing?

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