Amnesty has a new report on violence against women in Egypt. Melissa Jeltsen at the Huffington Post reports on the report.
“Recent measures to protect women taken have been largely symbolic,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International, said in a press release. “The authorities must prove that these are more than cosmetic changes by making sustained efforts to implement changes and challenge deeply entrenched attitudes prevalent in Egyptian society.”
In June 2014, Egypt criminalized sexual harassment for the first time. Women’s rights advocates have been skeptical of the new law, and have noted that some of its burdensome requirements — such as requiring women who are sexually harassed or assaulted to have two witnesses to the crime — may render it difficult to enforce.
More like impossible. It’s almost as bad as the sharia version of rape: it’s not rape unless four men watched.
Sexual harassment is ubiquitous on Egyptian streets. In a 2013 survey by UN Women, more than 99 percent of women reported being sexually harassed in public. According to Amnesty, public assaults on women, such as the horrific attacks on female protesters by mobs that captured international attention in 2013, have been on the rise.
“Targeting women and girls for violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence during mass protests, also impairs or nullifies their enjoyment of other fundamental rights, including freedoms of assembly and expression and the right to participate, on an equal basis with men, in the political life and events shaping the country’s future,” the report said.
The bullies get to enjoy full rights, and their victims get to enjoy none. That’s the whole point of bullying, and it’s why not bullying is better (because fairer).
Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American women’s rights activist, said it was incredibly important that Amnesty connected domestic, street and state violence against women.
“Women in Egypt are entrapped by institutional, systematic violence,” she told The Huffington Post by email. “Unless combatting that violence becomes a priority, unless women can live safe and dignified lives, no revolution has taken place. We must overthrow the Mubarak at home as well as on the street, not just the one who sat in the presidential palace. That double revolution that us women must undertake — against the misogyny of the state and the street, and by extension the home, is Egypt’s key to freedom.”
Overthrow it all.