Robert Slattery is a writer living in Western North Carolina. He enjoys music and all sorts of other things.
Giving It Back
Women’s Issues – A vocal group of Egyptian activists are seeking to end the trial of civilians by the Egyptian military, trials that are often both dehumanizing and unjust. Though seeking to end these trials in general, it is Egyptian women who are coming out the hardest and have the most to gain. Many have been the subject of humiliating “virginity checks,” tests that would be illegal, if not done by those in power.
One woman who suffered this humiliation was Samira Ibrahim, who, according to NPR, suffered, along with six other women, a “forced penetration to check the hymen for blood.”
Following the incident, she filed a lawsuit against the military but was ultimately ruled against by a military tribunal; an act that furthered her humiliation, but helped to “strengthen the resolve” of Egyptian citizens seeking freedom from military rule over citizens. Reem Saad, Middle East Studies department head at American University in Cairo, explained what made Ibrahim’s suit so startling was that, “It is unprecedented that just a young woman from Upper Egypt comes out and challenges the military and the patriarchal order in a way that is very difficult for someone in her position.”
Considering the pain and embarrassment that the test involves, as well as the powerlessness that these women felt, it may come, then, as no surprise that Amnesty International considers these tests “a form of torture.” Despite the awfulness that has been done, Egyptian activists are optimistic about their fight to end the era of these humiliating abuses.
Read more about Samira’s efforts at NPR.