Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An impressive display of cruelty. Way to go, SCAF.

In am truly at a loss regarding the latest development in Egypt's virginity tests debacle.  Quick background: the ruling military council cracked down on protests in Tahrir Square in March, and among other human rights violations, detained at least 18 women.  These women were "beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to ‘virginity checks’ and threatened with prostitution charges."  A virginity test is, of course, a physical test to determine whether a woman's hymen has been broken.

Yesterday a senior general admitted that despite the Supreme Council of Armed Forces' continual denial, these tests were in fact conducted.  His defense of the practice is mind boggling:  

"The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine," the general said. "These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs)."

The SCAF's defense is that these were somehow "bad girls" who deserved subjection to officers' grotesque, renegade form of justice.  Officers' disdain for these women (based on nothing other than their presence overnight in Tahrir Square) exempted them from treating the women with a shred of dignity.

The general said the virginity checks were done so that the women wouldn't later claim they had been raped by Egyptian authorities.
"We didn't want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren't virgins in the first place," the general said. "None of them were (virgins)."

The notion of performing virginity tests in an effort to forestall allegations of sexual harassment is outrageous.  This WAS sexual harassment of the most humiliating kind, and essentially a sterilized form of rape.  Furthermore, the military seems to be operating under the bizarre assumption that only virgins can be raped.  

The stupidity and cruelty behind this makes my head want to explode.


  1. This is so upsetting! The virginity in a culture where women seem to be demonized anyway-what's the point if she's a devil before you let her be an angel, ya know?

    Thank you for posting-I put this on my facebook too because I know a handful of women who are going to be (or should be) just as upset!

  2. If only the army displayed such ingenius lateral thinking when... you know... tackling actual crime... Cairo would not be such a bad state.
    Abdus Shuman.