Sexual assaults have been rampant during the events taking place in Egypt after and during the demonstrations to celebrate former President Morsi’s departure from power.
The Guardian is reporting that 80 instances of sexual assault took place on Wednesday while crowds celebrated the toppling of Morsi’s regime.
The incidents include sexual assaults, harassment, and rape. In Tahrir Square since Sunday, when protests against Morsi first began, there have been at least 169 counts of sexual mob crime.
The advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) received “some of the reports from the Egyptian group Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault which runs a rape hotline and tries to stop attacks.”
On Sunday alone, the group reported 46 attacks; 17 attacks occurred on Monday, and 23 on Tuesday. All the attacks occurred in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. HRW reports “Egyptian officials and political leaders across the spectrum should condemn and take immediate steps to address the horrific levels of sexual violence against women in Tahrir Square.”
Sexual assaults have become more common place since the revolution of 2011 when crowds protested for days to bring Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood into power.
The numbers in this case seem high even compared to the events from two years ago.
It’s been underreported because a lot of people are unwilling to come forward,” said Soraya Bahgat, a women’s right advocate, “and because no one wanted to disturb the sanctity of Tahrir.”
One woman, who was attacked by a mob of men described the experience saying that suddenly she found herself surrounded by men who were ripping at her clothes and touching and groping her everywhere.
“There were so many hands under my shirt and inside my pants.”
Activists believe the men in question intentionally go to the protest looking for women to assault.
Mariam Kirollos, an activist for women’s rights, says that sexual harassment is not properly defined in Egypt and that authorities don’t take the claims seriously.
“In some cases, girls filing a police report are even harassed.”
But with the change in power, advocacy groups feel that no real change may come to pass, as some were having discussions with the previous regime.
What do you think of the reports of sexual assault in Egypt?