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Rape in Egypt

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Rape in Egypt

Rape is one of the most common crimes in Egypt.[1] Marital rape is not illegal in the country. By 2008, U.N. quoted Egypt's Interior Ministry's figure that 20,000 rapes take place every year, although according to the activist Engy Ghozlan (ECWR), rapes are 10 times higher than the stats given by Interior Ministry, making it 200,000 per year.[2] Mona Eltahawy has also noted the same figure (200,000), and added that it was before the revolution, today the number is actually higher.[3]

Rapes have been carried out during festivals and the Egyptian protests, it includes the public rapes carried on women, and the female journalists.[4]


Rapes are usually not reported in Egypt, due to the fear of social rejection and culturally it's not accepted.

Rania Hamid from Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA) says that no one comes and tells that they have been raped, saying "Girls consider it to be quite enough that a few people know about the rape." Rania Hamid further describes the problem, that even if a girl would reveal that she has been raped, the whole issue would take form of honour, she said that "There are problems of honour. Sometimes a brother or cousin may kill her, saying ‘you wanted this, you encouraged this, you’re not honourable, and what is that you are wearing’?... Of course it’s not her fault, but who are you going to tell that to? The girl or society?"[2]

According to the US State Department country report, "honour crimes" are not actually illegal in Egypt.

Farah Shash, a psychologist explains that young boys are rarely stopped or opposed by their parents for molesting girls publicly, it's because the children always saw the same behavior around them. Shash further adds that "Often, families will just laugh".[5] According Seif el-Dawla who runs a center in the country told that "Sexual molestation and harassment ... is routine for women who come across police".

Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECWR) has called the problem "social cancer" and suggested that dress code is not deterrent at all. ECWR carried out a survey in 2008 which found that 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women within Egypt had experienced sexual harassment at some time, and only 12% had gone to police for complaining such issue. Over 62% of Egyptian men admitted harassing women, and 53% of Egyptian men have blamed women for 'bringing it on.'[6]

United Nations Entity for Gender Equality in May 23, 2013, reported that estimated of 99.3% of Egyptian women said they faced some form of sexual violence.[7]

In some of the cases, rape has been connected to some religious issues.[8] Activists reported that Muslim Brotherhood pays for raping women and beating men.[9]

Security forces

There are incidents in which military men had raped a civilian.[10] On April 2014, it was reported that the Egyptian police was using rape as a weapon against the political dissidents, in relation to this report, one of the victim had raised the issue during the first judicial hearing, although the victim's complaint was ignored.[11]

Child sexual abuse

A survey of male and female students at Sohag University found an overall child sexual abuse prevalence of 29.8%, with the rate for females (37.8%) being higher than that for males (21.2%). Hugging and kissing in a way that disturbed the victim were the most reported type of child sexual abuse. 76.1% of the abuse was not disclosed to another party.[12]

Child rape has been reported.[13]

Egypt remains one of the most common countries for forced marriage as well as child marriage, along with Saudi Arabia, Yemen. An Egyptian TV series named Burying Girls Alive, shown on one of the satellite channels during Ramadan, it shows an old man simply buying a teenage girl by taking advantage of poverty.[14] The rape of Coptic Christians children by Islamists has also been documented during President Morsi's rule,[15] so has abduction of minors for the purpose of forced marriage.[16]

During protests

During the 2011 - 2014 Egyptian protests, rape had been carried out publicly.

CBS correspondent Lara Logan revealed in her 60 Minutes program that she and her CBS crew were arrested and detained for one night by the Egyptian Army on 3 February 2011, while covering the Egyptian Revolution. She said the crew was blindfolded and handcuffed at gunpoint, and their driver beaten. They were advised to leave the country, but were later released.[17] On 15 February 2011, CBS News released a statement that Logan had been beaten and sexually assaulted on 11 February, while covering the celebrations in Tahrir Square following Hosni Mubarak's resignation.[18] In Logan's own words, they raped her with their hands, while taking photographs with their cellphones. They began pulling her body in different directions, pulling her hair so hard she said it seemed they were trying to tear off chunks of her scalp. Believing she was dying, she was dragged along the square to where the crowd was stopped by a fence, alongside which a group of women were camping. One woman wearing a chador put her arms around Logan, and the others closed ranks around her, while some men who were with the women threw water at the crowd. A group of soldiers appeared, beat back the crowd with batons, and one of them threw Logan over his shoulder. She was flown back to the U.S. the next day, where she spent four days in the hospital. She was contacted by US president Barack Obama when she arrived home.[19] CBS said it remained unclear who the attackers were, and unlikely that any will be prosecuted.

A female 22-year-old Dutch journalist was gang raped by 5 men in the protest.[4]

On 3 July 2013, it was reported that about 91 women were raped and sexually abused in Tahrir Square in 4 days.[20]

Such incidents don't seem to be opposed by the government or officials, but instead they seemed to have gathered support. Report by Nina Burleigh quotes Egyptian Salafi preacher Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah, who said that "women protesting in Tahrir Square have no shame and want to be raped".[7]

After revolution, about 50% of women have reported more harassment. 44% said that harassment remained is same as it was before, while, over 58% of men surveyed have told that harassment has been increased after revolution.[21]

Eid al Fitr assaults

There are several accounts of a heightened number of sexual assaults and rapes taking place during Eid al Fitr in 2006 in Egypt, some noting as well the precautions being taken to prevent a recurrence of such problems.[22][23][24][25] Subsequent reports indicate that this phenomenon continues to cause concern,[26][27][28][29] one Egyptian journalist writes, 'The Eid al-Fitr holiday following this year's Ramadan brought its usual share of sexual harassment'.[30] An Egyptian group founded to protect against sexual assaults, 'described Eid al-Fitr as a "season for harassment"',[31] and the prevalence of such attacks 'a trend that has become associated with Eid al-Fitr celebrations in recent years'.[28] Again in 2013, the same allegations surface in Cairo and Tanta.[32][33][34] Public discussion of the problem in Egypt has been reported to be difficult.[35] 2014 saw lower rates of attempted harassment, and activists reported women and girls were more confident that assaults would be punished since amendment of the penal code earlier in the year.[36] 6 arrests were reported in Eid.[37] In 2015, 141 police reports for sexual harassment were filed during Eid in Cairo.[38] It was claimed the lack of data security or of a support mechanism after reporting hindered confidence, leading to many reports being subsequently withdrawn.[38]


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  3. ^ How Safe is Egypt After the Revolution?, April 26, 2012
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  11. ^ Egyptian police 'using rape as a weapon' against dissident groups | World news | The Observer
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    • Charlie Rose Interview with Lara Logan, see 3:30–4:00, 7 February 2011.
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Further reading

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