News / Middle East

    Rising Violence Against Egyptian Women Worries Rights Activists

    Rising Violence Against Egyptian Women Worries Rights Groupsi
    X
    January 03, 2013 7:32 PM
    Nearly two years after Egypt's revolution promised a more representative future, the rights of Egyptian women remain tentative. Rights groups say violence against women is on the rise and they want the government to intervene. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott reports.
    Elizabeth Arrott
    Women played a major role in the revolution that brought down Egypt's old government.  But nearly two years on, many say they have seen little reward.  In terms of physical security, activists say the plight of women is getting worse.
     
    "There have been so many cases of mobbing, of sexual assault and recently also gang rape cases," notes Heba Morayef, the Egypt director of Human Rights Watch. "And the response to that of course has been zero response from the government,” she adds.
     
    Activists say efforts to get the government to help women have failed. Psychologist Farah Shash of the Nadim Center in Cairo works with victims of sexual violence.
     
    "Whenever we discuss women’s issues in the parliament or public debate, they would say it is not a priority, that we don’t believe that women protection and participation is a priority, with what is going on now with the revolution and the political system and so on,” Shash explains.
     
    While women's rights were shaky under the old system, legal experts say the nation's new constitution, passed amid controversy last month, further erodes civil guarantees.
     
    "Many of the lines in the constitution -- they didn't try to say things specifically for women to defend their rights,” complains a young woman who was among many to take to the streets to protest out of concern.
     
    In addition to passing protective laws, rights groups say it will take an overhaul of an education system that portrays women in subservient roles, an economy that leaves many young people jobless and a society that tends to blame the victim for the assault.  
     
    Some civic groups are offering women protection at rallies and other vulnerable areas. Psychologist Shash says the trend may help raise awareness, but the thinking behind it is misguided.   
     
    "Women cannot move with human shields all the time in the Egyptian street," notes Shash. "We need to know that the system is protecting us.  We need to know that men do not see us as sexual objects walking on the street.” 
     
    The growing number of cases where “protectors” have attacked suspects is a worrying development,  rights advocates say.

    "This new license that's been given to private citizens to become involved in violence is an even more dangerous one," Morayef says.  "Because you see a weakening of the role of the state and honestly this opens the door to vigilantism moving forward.”
     
    While rights groups view the Islamist government with a wary eye, they argue it is in everyone's interests, including the leaders', to take a greater role and step up security for women.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ali baba from: new york
    January 05, 2013 12:18 PM
    woman and minority will have tough time in Egypt . Islam does not respect woman nor minority.

    by: JKF from: Ottawa. Canada
    January 03, 2013 8:54 PM
    In my view/opinion the sit -- Egypt has approved Sharia based law; under such law there are very strict regulations wrt the behaiviour of women, as we know from many of the other Islamic law based states, and we read in the press. The population of Egypt, as most of the other states, is at least 50% women. For the Moslem Brotherhood to get a significant majority in the election ` 56+% of the vote, given the number of other religious minorities in Egypt, I estimate well over 65% of Muslim Men and well over 65% of Muslim women, that voted, must have voted for this non-secular gvmt. Under Sharia law, when strictly enforced, women are not even supposed to be out of their homes unaccompanied and worse.... Essentially, once you introduce such laws, and people do not follow them, the people (women in this case) are open to violence by extremists, and we all have extremist/violent amongst our people. We have seen such violence reported in the media from all over the world where such religeous laws are introduced. Women being physically weaker than men, are usually the first to be attacked by extremists; other ethnic/religeous minorities will surely be next.. and the story repeats itself. Interestingly enough, the liberals in the West, especially in the EU, that championed the cause of this new gvmt in Egypt, essentially abandoned the rights of women and minorities. We do not hear any of the EU liberals marching and screaming for the rights of women or minorities under the dictatorship of religeous majorities, and not just in Egypt. And saddly the Muslim Majority in the West, in my view as usual, will remain silent to these abuses against women, and minorities later on. That is why secular gmts are necessary, to ensure that all are equal and equally protected by the state's judiciary and security organizations. Very sad sit in Egypt for the majority of those that are secular muslims, especially women, or are from non-muslim minorities. A gvmt that refuses or is incapable to protect minorities and the weak, is only going to be self destructive to its people over time.

    by: Saad AbuKhaled from: Egypt
    January 03, 2013 2:18 PM
    listen America... Muslim Brotherhood is Al Qaida... it is Hamas... Egypt today is the first Al Qaida State... why can't you understand that?? why would you insist of giving them F-16s and cutting edge technology Tanks... why?? they are not threatened by no one... they will be using these weapons against us... Egyptian citizens. the Muslim Brotherhood is already negotiating with Russia, N.Korea, China, Iran, to sell to them your advanced technology... what are you doing...?? listen America, Egyptian MB hates you more than Al Qaida and Islamic Jihad hate you... why are you subsidizing those who hate you so much..??? why???
    In Response

    by: khaled from: Saudi
    January 06, 2013 5:14 AM
    ???

    you argument does not make since man and no one will hear you because Morsy is a real Muslim who will guide Egypt to the right path.

    I believe that Morsy is the best presedent in the whole earth.

    if you have real evidence and proves about your argument give them we are not stupids to agree in any self argument.

    what happens in Egypt is to destroy Islam but Allah will make it beyond every one may Allah correct they way you think about Islamic country.
    In Response

    by: Ken Rumgay from: America
    January 03, 2013 10:44 PM
    I have no idea. America keeps supporting those that hate us. Saudi Arabia is our biggest enemy and Baby George Bush kisses the kings hand!!
    Our country is lost.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora