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Guardian Self Defense and Security Blog

In Rapidly Evolving Egypt, Rapes All Too Common

"Violent gang rapes are becoming all too common in a nation undergoing radical change. Rape and sexual assaults among young girls and women has traditionally gone under-reported in Egypt, which adheres to a very conservative mindset about the rights and identities of females. However - in the tumult surrounding the nation's struggles to find a Democratic identity, and with the ouster of its first democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi, gang rapes are becoming more increasingly common. Clashes between government forces and Morsi supporters have seemingly taken a front seat over the safety of Egypt's female citizens. In the attacks, men typically surround the woman, rip off her clothes and then perform manual rape. An outer circle fends off would-be rescuers with sticks, blades and belts. Since the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, then the Egyptian president, attacks against women have become an epidemic in Tahrir Square, the site of many of the protests. With the ousting of Morsi, 150 new such cases were reported. In the attacks, men typically surround the woman, rip off her clothes and then perform manual rape. An outer circle fends off would-be rescuers with sticks, blades and belts. "They were taking photos of me and laughing," one victim says. "They pinned me naked to the hood of a car and drove me around." The alacrity of these attacks imply that they are orchestrated. Some believe they are being carried out by political factions to deter women from protesting while simultaneously discrediting demonstrators. The fact that the assaults occurred under Mubarak, the military, Morsi and the current interim president, Adly Mansour, suggests otherwise, implying the problem goes far deeper."
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