Video still above from The Human Rights Channel
While the Human Rights Channel has been curating videos from the turmoil in Egypt on our Watching Egypt playlist and our look at the Tamarod movement, our latest in-depth playlist takes a look at one aspect of the political turmoil that many would rather keep hidden: gender-based violence.
During massive demonstrations–whether during the Arab Spring or the June 30, 2013 Tamarod protests–public spaces have become not only hubs of political activism, but also spaces where the chaos and density provides cover for the harassment and assault of female activists and journalists. The local organization Operation Anti Sexual Harassment/Assault (OpAntiSH) received 46 reports of sexual violence near Tahrir Square on June 30th, including mob attacks, gang rape, and kidnappings.
Some of these attacks have been caught on video:
OpAntiSH also note the pervasive atmosphere – even from leadership – that condones these kind of attacks on women, blaming them for the attacks. A recent press release on their Facebook page states that General Adel Afifi, a member of the Shura Council’s Human Rights Committee, criticized women, saying, “Girls who join [the protests] do so knowing they are in the middle of thugs and street types….Sometimes a girl contributes 100% to her rape because she puts herself in those circumstances.”
Our playlist helps a viewer understand what they are seeing when they watch such footage. It also includes testimony from women who have survived such assaults, and a Mosireen documentary on the history of sexual violence used as a tool of political intimidation in Egypt. Mosireen is a part of our Video for Change network.
Thanks to interns Meghan McDonough and Shimaa Helmy for their work curating and researching this playlist.