Egyptian Women Blamed for Sexual Assaults

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The sheer number of women sexually abused and gang raped in a single
public square had become too big to ignore. Conservative Islamists in Egypt’s new political elite were outraged — at the women.

“Sometimes,” said Adel Abdel Maqsoud Afifi, a police general, lawmaker
and ultraconservative Islamist, “a girl contributes 100 percent to her
own raping when she puts herself in these conditions.”

The increase in sexual assaults over the last two years has set off a
new battle over who is to blame, and the debate has become a stark and
painful illustration of the convulsions racking Egypt as it tries to
reinvent itself.

Under President Hosni Mubarak, the omnipresent police kept sexual
assault out of the public squares and the public eye. But since Mr.
Mubarak’s exit in 2011, the withdrawal of the security forces has
allowed sexual assault to explode into the open, terrorizing Egyptian
women.

Women, though, have also taken advantage of another aspect of the
breakdown in authority — by speaking out through the newly aggressive
news media, defying social taboos to demand attention for a problem the
old government often denied. At the same time, some Islamist elected
officials have used their new positions to vent some of the most
patriarchal impulses in Egypt’s traditional culture and a deep hostility
to women’s participation in politics.

Written By: Mayy el Sheikh and David D. Kirkpatrick
continue to source article at nytimes.com

25 COMMENTS

  1. If the Syrian opposition rebels win the war against Assad, it wil go the same way as Egypt. I am not an apologist for the Assad regime, but I think the UK should think twice about arming the rebels.

    • In reply to #7 by Explorer:

      If the Syrian opposition rebels win the war against Assad, it wil go the same way as Egypt. I am not an apologist for the Assad regime, but I think the UK should think twice about arming the rebels.

      I think it’ll be much worse. I honestly expect there to be a full on genocide.

    • I have to agree.

      The ‘Arab Spring’ is not a movement which will end up with any country being free. Sadly. In reply to #7 by Explorer:

      If the Syrian opposition rebels win the war against Assad, it wil go the same way as Egypt. I am not an apologist for the Assad regime, but I think the UK should think twice about arming the rebels.

    • *In reply to #7 by Explorer: Maybe Bush (the shrub) was visionary when he decided to step into it in that region, engage in an inevitable war and bring salvation through democracy to the Middle East. We were to be received in Iraq like the GIs were welcomed in France and Italy during WW2; didn’t turn out so nice, they wanted us out as soon as we got in. Saddam Hussein was a nasty tyrant, and not even our tyrant anymore, but was not as chummy with Iran as the present Iraqi regime seems to be and did have skills for keeping thing under control. Places like Iraq and Afghanistan seem as ready for western style democracy as feudal Europe would have been. The great irony of American foreign policy is that so many of the nations in Latin America were beyond ready for it, the people were fighting for it and the US worked like hell to overthrow the ones that succeeded and install and support dictatorial military juntas just as corrupt and ruthless as guys like Saddam Hussein. As long as they killed communists and socialists and kept American corporate interests happy they were democratic enough for us. *

      If the Syrian opposition rebels win the war against Assad, it wil go the same way as Egypt. I am not an apologist for the Assad regime, but I think the UK should think twice about arming the rebels.

  2. The infamous religion of “peace” only creates sexually frustrated people who eventually become rapist, so the religion of “peace” becomes the religion of rapists; the former is a misleading term, the word peace is just sarcasm. The latter is a real term, here the word rapist means business; it doesn’t need to be written between inverted commas. Is terrible to see how a religion can turn the individuals of a society into wild beasts – though actual wild beasts don’t rape. The authorities, made up by religious zealots, can’t think of anything else but accuse women of being responsible for the rapes, which indicates that they have no desire to solve the problem at all, but rather the problem will help them strengthen their ideology on the population. Egyptian women will end up like their Saudi Arabian sisters, but without the subsidies from the oil revenues. I’d seriously advice western tourism to avoid going to Egypt for the next years. That “Arab spring” is quickly becoming an Arab winter.

  3. I read this article last night & found it both horrifying and shocking. I didn’t think that anything ultraconservative Islamists and/or the Muslim Brotherhood say could shock me anymore, but I was wrong. Two quotes from the article are particularly sickening:

    “Sometimes,” said Adel Abdel Maqsoud Afifi, a police general, lawmaker and ultraconservative Islamist, “a girl contributes 100 percent to her own raping when she puts herself in these conditions.”

    and:

    You see those women speaking like ogres, without shame, politeness, fear or even femininity,” declared a television preacher, Ahmed Abdullah, known as Sheik Abu Islam.

    Such a woman is “like a demon,” he said, wondering why anyone should sympathize with those “naked” women who “went there to get raped.”

    • In reply to #12 by Jon Snow:

      i wonder what the accommodationists and apologists think…do they agree or do they reject the premise…over to you Warsi …

      Well what about over to you Richard Dawkins? Where are his comments on this?

      Egypts main source of income is tourism! It relies on men and women like all the people here visiting it, it has the weather and the most fascinating history.

      Richard Dawkins has a twitter account with thousands of follwers – why no call for a tourist boycott on their attitude to women? He is getting a higher profile in the UK as well, people are starting to recognise him – why not use it for something useful?.

      Wouldn’t that be a far better use of that account and his time than sniggering just because someone believes in some nonsense or other? Wouldn’t that be a better legacy of atheism than just being the bloke who asks everyone, even when they are on the same side as him in a debate whether they believe in gods?

      Even better, there are a hell of a lot of muslims in the UK who haven’t been brought up in that environment who are just as disgusted but have no high profile voices – the very ones that Warsi goes on about, they do actually exist. And many in the churches are already working with women who’ve been victims of sex trafficking and rape here so already have expertise working with abuses of women in our own country. Or the excellent moderate christain groups like ekklesia that fight for exactly the same values as here.

      So why doesn’t RD try to use his high profile to attempt join those groups together as a universal voice against tourism to Egypt until it recognises the equal rights of women?

      There is very little that can be done except threaten economically. But high profile people like Dawkins could at least try where the rest of us are limited to our friends. Otherwise how is he different from Warsi?

      • In reply to #15 by atheistengineer:

        Well what about over to you Richard Dawkins? Where are his comments on this?

        Where are the international governments that deal with these muppets on the diplomatic front every day?
        Where is the outrage in parliament?
        What do you actually think RD…would say?…what would the message be?
        And to what end?
        As far as I am aware RD does not involve with actual politics only the religious aspect of those politics.

        I am fairly sure any followers of RD’s twitter account will need no urging from him to condemn this nonsense.

        Richard Dawkins has a twitter account with thousands of follwers – why no call for a tourist boycott on their attitude to women? He is getting a higher profile in the UK as well, people are starting to recognise him – why not use it for something useful?

        It is not clear if such a tourist boycott worked in the case of the girl in the Maldives as yet but it is a valid point you have.

        But where is the national media? surely they have a far greater responsibility and reach then a well known atheist?

        Wouldn’t that be a far better use of that account and his time than sniggering just because someone believes in some nonsense or other?

        More is the pity that there is not more ‘sniggering’ going on as you so cleverly put it!

        Even better, there are a hell of a lot of muslims in the UK who haven’t been brought up in that environment who are just as disgusted but have no high profile voices – the very ones that Warsi goes on about, they do actually exist.

        They have no voice because they do not use it, they appear to have the same attitude as they do to home grown terrorists, the majority turn away and the remainder celebrate!

        And what Warsi drones on about is the secularization of society and the poor down trodden religious of every flavour, whatever their personal penchants and idiocies, not to mention their somewhat jaundiced opinions of others that do not share their delusion or who have a lifestyle not to theist tastes.

        And many in the churches are already working with women who’ve been victims of sex trafficking and rape here so already have expertise working with abuses of women in our own country. Or the excellent moderate christain groups like ekklesia that fight for exactly the same values as here.

        Yes and so? that is not the point in this thread.
        I never said there was no interest just no interest that really counts in a concrete manner like national press or Western governmental interests…or the UN or the EU…they are the ones that can eradicate this nonsense, treating the fall out is not the same as defusing the bomb, .no matter the means.

        So why doesn’t RD try to use his high profile to attempt join those groups together as a universal voice against tourism to Egypt until it recognises the equal rights of women?

        Why does not the European, American and antipodean governments?, now that would have a little more bite …no?

        There is very little that can be done except threaten economically. But high profile people like Dawkins could at least try where the rest of us are limited to our friends.

        I take your point but why pick on RD…why not also Prince Charles?…or David Beckham?…or Richard Branson?, one might assume with good reason that they reach far more public then RD.

        Otherwise how is he different from Warsi?

        Very much so because Warsi is a senior member of Her Maj’s clowns and actively promotes and pushes a theist agenda into politics and the mechanisms that formulate the law of the land, she is partitioning on behalf of a section of society to be allowed to discriminate against the majority, or at the very least to perpetuate their special privilege nook and crannies if not extend it.

  4. In many countries, especially Islamic ones, there is a sex-based or gender-based apartheid system that operates which is sanctioned by religious and/or cultural rules, a kind of religio-cultural barbed wire (both physical and psychological), if you like, that keeps the sexes separate.

    Shuffled into these separate religio-cultural boxes from an early age (including gender roles and rules on what to wear or when and where one can associate with others), it is not surprising that many men and women in such cultures do not really know how to interact with each other — apart from within their respective cages. Both sexes, it could be said, have a pre-pubescent or stunted understanding of each other.

    When the apartheid system suddenly breaks open, such as in the event of civil war, and generations of repressed feelings suddenly run free, it’s hardly surprising that both sexes suddenly feel emboldened, almost like a trapped animal suddenly able to run wild, or a teenager escaping into “lawlessness” from the overbearing watch of strict parents.

    So we see some, maybe many, women demanding what they see as rightfully theirs — being treated as equals, for example, or demanding their voice is heard in the public space. And we see some men, maybe many, grabbing at what they see as rightfully theirs too — being able to freely have their way with the opposite sex, for instance, or engaging in open fights with authority.

    Much of this though is potentially explainable because of the (often invisible) religio-cultural cage that, from a early age, divides the sexes in these countries.

    • In reply to #14 by RDfan:

      In many countries, especially Islamic ones, there is a sex-based or gender-based apartheid system that operates which is sanctioned by religious and/or cultural rules, a kind of religio-cultural barbed wire (both physical and psychological), if you like, that keeps the sexes separate.

      Shuffled into these separate religio-cultural boxes from an early age (including gender roles and rules on what to wear or when and where one can associate with others), it is not surprising that many men and women in such cultures do not really know how to interact with each other — apart from within their respective cages. Both sexes, it could be said, have a pre-pubescent or stunted understanding of each other.

      When the apartheid system suddenly breaks open, such as in the event of civil war, and generations of repressed feelings suddenly run free, it’s hardly surprising that both sexes suddenly feel emboldened, almost like a trapped animal suddenly able to run wild, or a teenager escaping into “lawlessness” from the overbearing watch of strict parents.

      So we see some, maybe many, women demanding what they see as rightfully theirs — being treated as equals, for example, or demanding their voice is heard in the public space. And we see some men, maybe many, grabbing at what they see as rightfully theirs too — being able to freely have their way with the opposite sex, for instance, or engaging in open fights with authority.

      Much of this though is potentially explainable because of the (often invisible) religio-cultural cage that, from a early age, divides the sexes in these countries.

      What? This is just dangerous. Retract that statement.

    • In reply to #14 by RDfan:

      In many countries, especially Islamic ones, there is a sex-based or gender-based apartheid system that operates which is sanctioned by religious and/or cultural rules, a kind of religio-cultural barbed wire (both physical and psychological), if you like, that keeps the sexes separate.

      Shuffled into these separate religio-cultural boxes from an early age (including gender roles and rules on what to wear or when and where one can associate with others), it is not surprising that many men and women in such cultures do not really know how to interact with each other — apart from within their respective cages. Both sexes, it could be said, have a pre-pubescent or stunted understanding of each other.

      When the apartheid system suddenly breaks open, such as in the event of civil war, and generations of repressed feelings suddenly run free, it’s hardly surprising that both sexes suddenly feel emboldened, almost like a trapped animal suddenly able to run wild, or a teenager escaping into “lawlessness” from the overbearing watch of strict parents.

      So we see some, maybe many, women demanding what they see as rightfully theirs — being treated as equals, for example, or demanding their voice is heard in the public space. And we see some men, maybe many, grabbing at what they see as rightfully theirs too — being able to freely have their way with the opposite sex, for instance, or engaging in open fights with authority.

      Much of this though is potentially explainable because of the (often invisible) religio-cultural cage that, from a early age, divides the sexes in these countries.

      Well said RDfan, You have accurately described the situation. We may not like it but you are correct. Perhaps “Virgin-mary” has interpreted it as opinion rather than a plain description. I can verify (in my limited experience) that the same stuff goes on in the Indian culture. But that does not mean I agree with it.

  5. In reply to #17 by old-toy-boy:

    Well said RDfan, You have accurately described the situation. We may not like it but you are correct. Perhaps “Virgin-mary” has interpreted it as opinion rather than a plain description. I can verify (in my limited experience) that the same stuff goes on in the Indian culture. But that does not mean I agree with it.

    Accurately described nothing. I’ve lived in 3 different countries on the Gulf, travelled the rest, and travelled from Morocco through to Egypt as well as around Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and northern Iraq. Gender segregation as described by RDfan only exists in Saudi and I’m pretty sure in Afghanistan as well but I’ve not been there so can’t say for sure. I’d suggest it may also happen in the particularly backwards areas of the Maldives and Indonesia but I’m not entirely sure. I’ve been to Indonesia, met a number of Indonesians who state it doesn’t, but I’m not sure how much I believe them.

    One thing for certain is that this particular problem in Egypt is in absolutely no way caused by gender segregation. Not a chance.

  6. Jon Snow:

    But where is the national media? surely they have a far greater responsibility and reach then a well known atheist?

    But they aren’t are they – not in a way that is hitting people. It takes high profile people to take an interest and get it into the mainstream. Famines in Ethiopia were on the news every night in the 80s but didn’t hit home till high profile Bob Geldof did something to force it into peoples consciousness.

    More is the pity that there is not more ‘sniggering’ going on as you so cleverly put it!

    And what has it achieved? Most people hate extremism and stupidity, always have and always will without the sniggering at the moderates. Most folk from the believing and non believing side dislike the nonsense of creationism or the burkha and segregation. Most people don’t really care about the moderates like the believers who aren’t insane or nasty or the western muslims who wear hijabs yet have careers and normal lives. You can’t keep sniggering about people who aren’t really that different from you if at the same time you ignore the real horrors going on both in your own country and abroad.

    I take your point but why pick on RD…why not also Prince Charles?…or David Beckham?…or Richard Branson?, one might assume with good reason that they reach far more public then RD.

    Because in a way, it is RDs chosen role in society. To expose religions excesses. Not Prince Charles or Beckham or Branson – it isn’t really their area is it. Prince Charles is also bound by his position which precludes public political views anyway, which is a blessing most of the time.

    Because it is the sort of thing that he features on HIS website daily. It is here I read about it.

    Because he is the one claiming to care about the excesses and abuses of religion and the fact women are its victims.

    Because he’s the one attending and organising comfy conferences to discuss the horrors and misogyny of religion in safe places (and blithely ignoring it when not religious – the same rapes, sex trafficking and a whole host of other horrors happen in the UK, with depressingly low conviction rates, slut shaming happens frequently here as well. All with no link whatsoever to any religious belief – you have to see the wider picture to understand what is happening).

    Because he’s the one who appears on tv shouting at anyone claiming to have any sort of belief at all.

    Because the people here are always expressing an outrage that seems to amount to nothing.

    And because he may have a lower profile but he has the time, contacts and the relevant background to do so. He is the one currently in the best position.

    And lastly because if he really does mean what he says and really does care about ending religion than surely that is the place to start? What else is more important than that?

    Very much so because Warsi is a senior member of Her Maj’s clowns and actively promotes and pushes a theist agenda into politics and the mechanisms that formulate the law of the land, she is partitioning on behalf of a section of society to be allowed to discriminate against the majority, or at the very least to perpetuate their special privilege nook and crannies if not extend it.

    She is a horror agreed, (I suspect she fulfils two tory token roles, muslim and female), thankfully largely ignored. But that doesn’t make her a supporter of the above. Plus promoting an ‘atheist’ society is just as bad.

    Society is secular it respects no one group nor prevents any group from what it believes in private. It should never segregate nor discriminate or it fails. Soft secular societies move peacefully away from religion. So I’m not sure I’d want to live in a world run by Dawkins either.

  7. For those talking about tourist boycotts, do a web search for [ declining egyptian tourism ]. What’s going on in Egypt has not been good for their tourist industry. They know this. So maybe they don’t care about it so much. After all, they are one of very few countries in the region that has somewhat reasonable relations with Israel and the US will tolerate a whole lot of crap and pay out plenty of “foreign aid” to keep it that way.

    For those who are thinking the international community is going to step up to the plate because a few rape stories hit the front page, please be real. What the hell do these governments and the corporations and plutocrats that control them care? What has been done about Tibet? The Chinese raped an entire nation and what happened? What has gone on in India is just as outrageous and there were similar, though not as rabid, statements by highly placed individuals. So many rapes have been committed in African conflicts it is probably impossible to count and the response has been what?

  8. *In reply to #22 by atheistengineer: This is as cogent a case against Dawkins as a lazy-ass shirker as I’ve seen anywhere. Carry on soldier. *

    Jon Snow:

    But where is the national media? surely they have a far greater responsibility and reach then a well known atheist?

    But they aren’t are they – not in a way that is hitting people. It takes high profile people to take an interest and get it into the mainstream. Famines in Ethiopia were on the news every night in the 80s but didn’t hit home till high profile Bob Geldof did something to force it into peoples consciousness.

    More is the pity that there is not more ‘sniggering’ going on as you so cleverly put it!

    And what has it achieved? Most people hate extremism and stupidity, always have and always will without the sniggering at the moderates. Most folk from the believing and non believing side dislike the nonsense of creationism or the burkha and segregation. Most people don’t really care about the moderates like the believers who aren’t insane or nasty or the western muslims who wear hijabs yet have careers and normal lives. You can’t keep sniggering about people who aren’t really that different from you if at the same time you ignore the real horrors going on both in your own country and abroad.

    I take your point but why pick on RD…why not also Prince Charles?…or David Beckham?…or Richard Branson?, one might assume with good reason that they reach far more public then RD.

    Because in a way, it is RDs chosen role in society. To expose religions excesses. Not Prince Charles or Beckham or Branson – it isn’t really their area is it. Prince Charles is also bound by his position which precludes public political views anyway, which is a blessing most of the time.

    Because it is the sort of thing that he features on HIS website daily. It is here I read about it.

    Because he is the one claiming to care about the excesses and abuses of religion and the fact women are its victims.

    Because he’s the one attending and organising comfy conferences to discuss the horrors and misogyny of religion in safe places (and blithely ignoring it when not religious – the same rapes, sex trafficking and a whole host of other horrors happen in the UK, with depressingly low conviction rates, slut shaming happens frequently here as well. All with no link whatsoever to any religious belief – you have to see the wider picture to understand what is happening).

    Because he’s the one who appears on tv shouting at anyone claiming to have any sort of belief at all.

    Because the people here are always expressing an outrage that seems to amount to nothing.

    And because he may have a lower profile but he has the time, contacts and the relevant background to do so. He is the one currently in the best position.

    And lastly because if he really does mean what he says and really does care about ending religion than surely that is the place to start? What else is more important than that?

    Very much so because Warsi is a senior member of Her Maj’s clowns and actively promotes and pushes a theist agenda into politics and the mechanisms that formulate the law of the land, she is partitioning on behalf of a section of society to be allowed to discriminate against the majority, or at the very least to perpetuate their special privilege nook and crannies if not extend it.

    She is a horror agreed, (I suspect she fulfils two tory token roles, muslim and female), thankfully largely ignored. But that doesn’t make her a supporter of the above. Plus promoting an ‘atheist’ society is just as bad.

    Society is secular it respects no one group nor prevents any group from what it believes in private. It should never segregate nor discriminate or it fails. Soft secular societies move peacefully away from religion. So I’m not sure I’d want to live in a world run by Dawkins either.

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