When you think about Women being denied for ‘Equality of Opportunity’ and their disempowerment you tend to get an image of Iraq, Qatar, Syria, Yemen and other countries in your mind. You barely think of Egypt. Because all these years, Egypt was one of those few first things you learnt as a part of your history studies. We read about Ancient Egypt, Civilization, the Art, Pyramids and Exotic Music all these days. But there is a wicked side of Egypt that will make you go nearly nauseous.
How many of you know that about 92% of Egyptian female population between 15 to 49 years has gone through Genital Mutilation? (By the end of 2009). If you wonder what Genital Mutilation is, they simply cut off the external female genitalia for no medical reason. If you think it will happen in a traditional and safe way, you are extremely wrong. They use any thing that is sharp enough to cut through the body. It is mostly with a blade, according the survivors who had been victims of this dreadful practice. By the way with or without Anesthesia. After ages of struggle, countries like Nigeria were able to ban it completely by 2015. Sadly this is still going on in Egypt illegally.
There will be a traditional circumciser to do this at the girl’s residence. The cutter will usually be an old woman whose family must be doing that act from generations. In some communities, a Barber can come and do it too. There will be neither sanitizations nor sterilizations that are going to be a part of this FGM. There are different kinds of Mutilations that are being practiced and one of them involves the removal of clitoral glands and the inner and outer labia will be sewn together. Again, with or without Anesthesia.
Another gruesome tradition of Egypt is ‘Taharrush’, Mass sexual assault. This vicious game is being played by Arabs for over a century. This basically is a large group of Arab men surrounding their target, usually a Western woman or a woman wearing Western-style clothing and harassing her, and end up raping her. Imagine hundreds of men coming towards you with hands like Forks. You might have come across some such news in recent times and thought it must be some group of people who were drunk or high on drugs or probably they are not so welcoming when it comes to foreign visitors. But sorry! That is not the reason at all.
Among Egyptian religions, it is brutally believed that a woman leaving house without her husband or father is a sin. The whole concept of this Misogynist tradition is to blame woman for coming out of houses and these sexual violence acts are source of shame for the victim not the attacker. Doesn’t it look not too far from where our country is heading up to these days?
Thought this devilish act is going on over decades, it was documented for the first time on 2005 when attackers came in buses to the venue of Egyptian constitutional referendum on 25 May 2005 and raped group of women there, right at the attendance of police. Again in 2011, Lara Logan who is an American Journalist from CBS was assaulted by hundreds of men in Cairo. Obviously anyone could do nothing apart from calling the country ‘A Circle of Hell’.
Can you look at Egypt in the old and nice way anymore? If we don’t realize in time and change certain things in our society, we might certainly end up being a similar society. It’s not a moment to Stand up and Blame. It’s a moment to Wake up and Act.