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Jan 26 2012

Not “a safe space” for women

How dare women be in Tahrir Square? Especially filthy foreign women?

According to Heather, an Arab-American living in the Egyptian capital, she and her Swedish and Spanish roommates took to Tahrir as thousands were converging there to mark one-year since the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak.

“They started fighting over who was going to do what,” Heather told Bikyamasr.com in an exclusive interview. She came forward after seeing the report on a foreign woman who was stripped naked and assaulted only hours after her own incident.

“My roommates and I fell to the ground when they attacked us. The people pulled our pants off even as we yelled and tried to fight,” she continued.

She said that after the men pulled their pants off, they continued to grab and grobe the women’s bodies. “It is disgusting. They put fingers up my ass,” she revealed.

Later in the night, the issue of sexual violence toward women was sparked after an eyewitness reported on the micro-blogging site Twitter that a foreign woman was stripped, groped and assaulted by another mob of men in the square.

The woman, whose identity has not been revealed, was taken away in an ambulance after being assaulted for 10 minutes. Her husband reportedly was unable to intervene and witnessed the incident.

“I saw the woman and then dozens of men surrounded her and started grabbing her, when she screamed for help some people came, but they were hit in the face,” wrote one witness.

What happened next was “appalling,” said the trusted witness, who asked for anonymity. “The men just started tearing at her clothes and grabbing her body all over. When she fought back, they pushed her. It was chaos.”

There were unconfirmed reports that the men “violated” her with their hands.

Throughout the day, sexual harassment towards women has been increasing and more and more reports of women being grabbed and groped began being reported.

I find this so depressing I can’t think of anything else to say about it.

23 comments

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  1. 1
    michaeld

    What how can this be? I thought muslims were all about making sure everplace was a safe place for everyone! I’m shocked deeply shocked I say!

  2. 2
    piero

    Depressing is the right word. I’d like to think of human beings as a more or less homogeneous species. Unfortunately, the evidence seem to demonstrate that a twisted, repressive and unhealthy system of beliefs can turn some human specimens into grotesque puppets of organic matter, driven exclusively by their hypothalamus.

    When I learned that a Jewish prayer included the line “Thank you God for not making me a woman” I found it appalling. And now I can see how these sleazebags would translate it into something even worse: “Thank you God for letting me be a groper.”

  3. 3
    mirax

    Oh these things happen everywhere. Dont they?

  4. 4
    Konradius

    Well, it is possible to be religious and not misogynistic.
    It’s also quite possible to be misogynistic and not religious.
    But it’s much more easy to be both and it’s far too easy to be either.

  5. 5
    piero

    I’m sorry, Linda. I don’t want to be discourteous, but I must: what the hell are you talking about?

  6. 6
    Bernard Hurley

    Religions with a few possible exceptions such as Daoism have the effect of perverting normal sexual behaviour. Islam appears to be the worst at this and then goes on to openly tolerate this behaviour. There are no doubt groups of men all over the world who would assault women in this way, but I can not imagine it being tolerated if it took place in broad daylight in public in a crowded place anywhere other than in an Islamic country.

  7. 7
    Ophelia Benson

    I think Linda somehow wandered into the wrong classroom.

  8. 8
    Riptide

    This is sexual repression on the level of the Salem Witch Trials. Clearly mobs of hysterical virgins who can’t even envision a healthy relationship with an independent woman. They’ve been so dehumanized (dare I say “unmanned”?) by their religion that they see personal integrity and dignity as incitement to violence.

    Their religion has taught them from birth that men are rabid animals incapable of controlling themselves around “immodestly” dressed women, and they seem far too eager to live down to that stereotype. Disgust doesn’t begin to describe what I feel for these primates.

  9. 9
    Shaker Srinivasan

    They are calling for their god’s law, aren’t they? Here’s what it leads to:

    A girl named Hena, age 14, was murdered by local Sharia Committee at Shariatpur in the southern part of Bangladesh… Hena was forcefully abducted and raped on January 30, 2011 during late at night by Mahbub, age 40. During this abuse, villagers arrived in response to the cries of Hena. At the same time, the imam of the local mosque, a man named Mofiz Uddin, and a few teachers of Madrassa [Koranic School] led by Saiful Islam, also arrived; instead of taking any action against the rapist, the Muslim clergymen took Hena inside the Madrassa and locked her in a room. The following day, the same imam and some of members of the Sharia Committee in the village sat for a trial of Hena on charges of “immoral sexuality” before marriage. Later the committee decided to punish Hena with 200 lashes, and took financial penalty of only TK. 10,000 [US$ 150] from the rapist.

    Arab Spring or Iranian Winter in Egypt?

  10. 10
    piero

    Riptide:

    “Unmanned” is the right word. They’ve become less than fully human, because they are incapable of loving so they may be loved. They know only how to subjugate, and they must convince themselves that humiliation and control are an adequate substitute for what they could never obtain from an unconstrained woman.

    I would pity them if they didn’t revolt me so much.

  11. 11
    Katkinkate

    If that’s not a bloody good cause for ‘islamophobia’ in most of the women of the world I don’t know what is.

  12. 12
    thewordofme

    Those fun loving and funky ol’ Peace Lovin’ Muslims (PLM’s) are at it again. Just trying to have some fun.

    Seriously…does anybody still take Muslims as a user friendly religion anymore??

    It should be held accountable for the shit it pulls. The leadership cannot seem to control the rank and file so they should be held responsible for the mayhem…either that or stop them from holding office.

  13. 13
    piero

    Konradius:

    “Well, it is possible to be religious and not misogynistic.”

    When I first read this, I thought “Of course, of course”.
    When I read it a second tiome I tought: “What?”

    I tried to think of a non-misogynistic religion and could not think of any:

    Buddhism: never met a Buddhist priestess or a female Lama
    Catholicism: need I really spell it out?
    Anglicanism: the Archbishop of Canterbury has never been a woman AFAIK
    Islam: well…
    etc.

  14. 14
    thewordofme

    Hi piero,

    You write:
    “Buddhism: never met a Buddhist priestess or a female Lama
    Catholicism: need I really spell it out?
    Anglicanism: the Archbishop of Canterbury has never been a woman AFAIK
    Islam: well…”

    As far as I know the Buddhists, Catholics, and Anglicans don’t go around killing women for stupid reasons. Islam is not fit to be considered a civilized religion and the people following it should be ashamed.

    They are blood thirsty animals

  15. 15
    piero

    thewordofme:

    Sure, Islam is the worst offender in this respect. But misogyny comes in all shapes, sizes and degrees.

    Do you really think that Ratzinger is a normal man, capable of loving a woman? Obviously not: assuming he is heterosexual, he must be full of hatred and aggression against an object of desire forever beyond his reach, yet real and powerfully present. A kind of Tantalus’ torment, if you like.

    In every major religion (I won’t get into the opportunistic religions that capitalized on the hippies), chastity is regarded as a good thing.

    In very major religion, men are in charge.

    Ergo, major religions are managed either by compulsive masturbators (who at least are vaguely aware of what love could be, but don’t have the courage to pursue it) or by desexed bodies (who don’t give a shit about women).

  16. 16
    Vijen

    Attributing this attack to misogyny rather obscures the true cause. All “religions” are sexually repressive*. And when men and women are blocked from behaving naturally, it creates a volcano of guilt and frustration and misery in each person. These feelings are then readily manipulated to support “religious” power structures.

    These men were simply availing themselves of an opportunity to express their suppressed emotions, hoping to feel some personal release, in a situation where they could plausibly claim “religious” sanction. This allows them to continue to see themselves as good people, and avoid seeing their destructive behaviour for what it really is.

    Of course these men behaved despicably, but not because men are intrinsically misogynistic: the root cause is “religion”, which parasitizes individuals and perverts their behaviour, both socially, and towards themselves.

    But it’s not only men who can be trapped into violence: consider how the vile “mother” Teresa blighted the thousands of poor people she suckered. And thousands more “nuns” live appalling lives of unnecessary suffering, harming nobody except themselves.

    “Religion” is the problem, not misogyny. In truth, we are all victims of “religion” – even these Egyptian men, if you can find enough compassion to see it.

    ———-
    *Without exception, unless you’re talking about worldviews which are “religious” in the same way that chess is a sport.

  17. 17
    mirax

    To be fair to muslims, mixed (and volatile) crowds in Iran or Tunisia do not seem to have the instinct to literally tear the clothes off random women and digitally rape them. There have been several incidents that have now been reported in Egypt, including the outrageous assault of at least 2 prominent journalists and it seems to have not provoked the outrage and shame in Egypt it would elsewhere.

    Shaker, that kind of a case is a direct result of the deficiencies of islamic zina laws which actively protect the rapist. It is the victim who has to prove her rape under ridiculous conditions – produce 4 eyewitnesses! (though ironically in this case there actually happen to be a fucking large clod of them)- or be accused of illicit sex.It has happened depressingly often in other situations and in other countries.

  18. 18
    Svlad Cjelli

    “As far as I know the Buddhists, Catholics, and Anglicans don’t go around killing women for stupid reasons.”

    Except when they do.

    Catholics, especially in Africa, kill all sorts of people for stupid reasons. Witchtrials, notably. Maybe not specifically for being female.

  19. 19
    Svlad Cjelli

    I wish Bush were right.

    We need a magic Freedom Beam cannon. Freedom nuke? Sailor fucking Moon, is what I’m saying.

  20. 20
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    The old canard that women are responsible for men’s lust means that any woman not guarded or armoured is fair game. A woman with her hands full carrying something in a Muslim crowd is going to be touched, groped, and fondled –because it’s automatically “her fault.” Women need to carry machetes until that attitude changes. Just saying.

  21. 21
    echidna

    As far as I know the Buddhists, Catholics, and Anglicans don’t go around killing women for stupid reasons.

    Inquisition. Witch hunts.

    These were so heinous, that Catholicism, and Anglicanism with it, was muzzled (although it is off the leash in Africa still).

  22. 22
    thewordofme

    Hello echidna,

    You write:
    “Inquisition. Witch hunts.
    These were so heinous, that Catholicism, and Anglicanism with it, was muzzled (although it is off the leash in Africa still).”

    We are talking about present day acts and policies. The abuses of the Christian Churches was mostly (not all) stopped when secular control over civil government was finally established and church law was (mostly) kicked out of civil jurisprudence.

    The Muslims it seems always install a religiously controlled government wherever they go and establish dominance. These governments invariably countenance the killing of women for stupid reasons. Therefore Islam is an evil and violent presence and should be controlled or eliminated.

    The ‘moderate Muslims’ we have all heard about, if they exist in sufficiently large numbers, need to take over leadership and weed out the extremists…not allow them any path to power or leadership..banish them outright…arrest and imprison them if necessary.

    The longer the moderates allow the outlaw extremists to exist the faster the credibility of their whole religion expires and our patience ends.

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    Vijen @ 17 – yes but this one seems specifically misogynist to me – it wasn’t sex, it was poking. That doesn’t provide sexual release, as you called it, surely? I mean, it can hardly be viewed as foreplay, and for the man it’s no substitute for fucking, so I don’t see what it can be other than hostile poking.

  1. 24
    Feminism and housework « almulhida

    [...] not sure there’s a point to this, it’s just a memory that got triggered by a recent post on Butterflies and [...]

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