Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sexual abuse of female journalists continues in Egypt

In February it was CBS reporter Lara Logan. Yesterday it was U.S. based Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy.

Both have now become symbols of a long-lasting, much larger problem with women's rights in the Muslim Middle East: the fact that the gender is viewed as inferior and treated as such.

Ongoing reports of brutality against women and girls – a well-known example being a case of the Taliban throwing acid into girls faces as they "dared" go to school for an education – the despicable practice of honour killings, and a general attitude of disdain for female rights are sadly all too prevalent across the region, with the notable exception being Israel.

Lara Logan
As you might recall, last February, while covering the uprising by Egyptians against their now-ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, Logan and her crew were assaulted and eventually separated from one another by a mob in Tahrir Square. And as Logan herself later revealed, during that time, she was sexually molested and violated by hundreds of men for nearly 25 minutes who shouted at her all the while, and incited each other by calling her a Jew and an Israeli spy while "raping me with their hands," she said in a CBS interview months later.

Meanwhile, yesterday Eltahawy – who writes for both The Toronto Star and The Jerusalem Post – was arrested by Egyptian security forces while covering more unrest at the square. During her detention she also claims to have been sexually assaulted by her captors.

Mona Eltahawy

In tweets she sent after her release – she spent 12 hours under the authority of Egypt's Interior Ministry – she wrote that she was sexually and physically assaulted by a half dozen men on the security force. Eltahawy also noted that her arms were now in casts and her hand severely injured. Here are some of her tweets from the last 24 hours:
"5 or 6 surrounded me, groped and prodded my breasts, grabbed my genital area and I lost count how many hands tried to get into my trousers."
 "The past 12 hrs were painful and surreal but I know I got off much much easier than so many other Egyptians."
So what did Eltahawy, Logan and so many other women in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East do? Simple, they were born girls.

What do you think?

No comments: