In Egypt over the past year, men who many Egyptians think are supporters of Mohammed Morsi’s Islamist government have been routinely violating women who pass through Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Demonstrations against the government in the same square that saw demonstrations against the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak are featuring organized assaults where women are stripped naked and violated by men who pretend to protect the women before attacking them.
On Jan. 25, the second anniversary of the revolution that brought Morsi to power, at least 19 women were sexually assaulted in and around Tahrir Square in one night. Since that night, there have been numerous attacks on women in the same place.
Hania Moheeb, an Egyptian journalist, was one of the women assaulted that night. She said: “The message to women is, ‘You should stay at home, you should stop protesting, you should feel stigmatized.'” Moheeb thought she was about to be killed; when she crossed the square, men who grabbed her from a circle of women protecting her first posed as her guardians, then ripped off her clothes, violated her, then turned her over to another group of men who violated her before they dragged her to an ambulance.
Moheeb said she has heard from many other women who have suffered the exact same fate. She fears by going public, her family will be targeted, and also feels that the government will do nothing to prosecute the thugs who attack women.