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Global Protest Against Sexual Terrorism Practiced on Egyptian Female Protestors - 12 February 2013

11 February 2013

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Activists Call: Global Protest Against Sexual Terrorism Practiced on Egyptian Female Protestors

We, citizens of all nationalities all around the world, will not watch in silence the spreading epidemic of sexual terrorism. We want to show our support, solidarity and admiration for the assaulted who paid the price of the ongoing Egyptian revolution with their own flesh, and to the heroic volunteers who are risking their lives for a safe Tahrir.

Therefore on Tuesday February 12, 2013, at 6:00 pm local time, we will gather in front of the Egyptian embassy in our city/country, and people all over the world will do this.

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LET US RAISE OUR VOICES BECAUSE:

- We hold responsible the Ruling Party for not taking strict measures to prevent organized thugs attacking, stripping, raping, injuring and killing peaceful protesters;

- We hold responsible the Egyptian police and governmental institutions for not offering the necessary protection and safety to female Egyptian citizens. Not only that, but the police itself practices the crime of sexual harassment/assault;

- We blame the past and present Egyptian governments for condoning the crime of sexual harassment/assault by not issuing any strict law that clearly provides legal consequences to sexual harassers or those that indulge in sexual violence. We demand the enforcement of a strict law against sexual harassment in all its forms.

- We condemn the social acceptability of sexual harassment, violence and rape by the Egyptian society, which puts the blame on the assaulted instead of the aggressor;

- We hold accountable irresponsible media for focusing on personal, intimate and sensationalist details of the assaulted, instead of denouncing the criminal act;

- We urge every revolutionary group, political party or individual to speak up and take IMMEDIATE action against both the sexual attacks committed by organized mobs aiming to tarnish the image of Tahrir and terrorize the protestors, and the sexual harassment targeting Egyptian women and girls on a daily basis in the streets of their own country.

Fighting sexual humiliation and aggression should be a TOP PRIORITY in the noble strive for freedom and dignity;

- We salute every hero and heroine of the ongoing Egyptian revolution!
You teach us courage, perseverance and determination.

Download here the high res poster for the Feb12 call https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3f63uxYCG57MG9jSXYyZllxeHM/edit

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Sexual terrorism is a technique recently used extensively by organized mobs in Egypt aiming to injure, undermine, humiliate and scare female protesters in Tahrir Square, during the ongoing Egyptian revolution.

Let’s describe one of the scenarios, a true story from one of the assaulted women: she finds herself suddenly separated from her friends and encircled by 100, 200, 300 men. They tear off her clothes with knives that injure her body, they twist her neck and pull her hair to forcibly kiss her, hundreds of hands are touching her body as she is being collectively manually raped with fingers thrusted into her genitals. The attack can last for 1 or 2 hours, during which the woman is dragged by the horde from one place to another, across the floor through mud and sewage. The persons who try to help her get equally attacked: males get choked with clothing or threatened with knives, females get encircled to undergo the same horror.

Not only that, but when the victim finally manages to escape, most places refuse to offer her shelter.. because up till now, in the eyes of society, SHE is the one held responsible of the suffered crime, not the agressor. In the eyes of society, SHE is considered to be the symbol of shame, not those who try to silence her. Sexual harassment/assault/violence has become more and more socially acceptable in Egyptian society over the past 10-15 years that today we have come to witness the most horrific aspect of it, practiced as a political tool of oppression. In fact, this is not the first time sexual harassment was used as a tool to silence female protestors: as early ‘Black Wednesday’ in May 2005, authorities during a protest used sexual harassment to disperse female protesters opposing constitutional changes that would grant former president Mubarak greater presidential powers. While security personnel and police largely endorsed the harassment, and stood passively by, the attacks on protesters were recorded, condemned, and widely circulated in media.

In the face of the latest atrocities in Tahrir Square, a group of initiatives were created such as Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment / Assault - a collaborative effort between several initiatives working on sexual harassment in Egypt as well as independent volunteers - and Tahrir Body-Guard, where young Egyptians have organized and trained themselves to combat the sexual assaults on the ground. They also provide follows-up to women and girls who have suffered the attacks. These groups have succeeded in saving several of the assaulted women, despite the fact that they get attacked themselves during the operations. The number of their volunteers is growing and their efforts are tireless.

On January 25th, 2013, on the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, the number of cases reported to Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment / Assault (OpAntiSH) were 19 cases in 1 day, not including the unreported ones.

But again to reaffirm, although Tahrir Square is seeing an extreme unimaginable form of sexual violence against women, sexual harassment has become an epidemic in Egypt that affects the lives of Egyptian women on a daily basis. 83% of Egyptian women surveyed by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights in 2008 admitted to being sexually harassed, 50% of those on a daily basis. Disturbingly, HarassMap has received a number of reports from young victims – both on its reporting system and anecdotally from volunteers. School girls and boys too often encounter harassing teachers, classmates, doctors, taxi drivers and even family members who make sexual advances, grope, masturbate in front of them, and even sexually assault them. More critically, the average bystander witnessing sexual harassment does not necessarily interfere to stop harassment, the way they would in the case of an act of theft, or a street fight. In fact, they may even blame the harassed/assaulted for being the reason for sexual harassment, and even sympathize with the harasser. However no real efforts were made by previous or present governments to enforce real legal consequences on harassers that would put an end to this epidemic, hence HarassMap’s mission of ending the social acceptability of sexual harassment as an approach to address it.

As OpAntiSH stated in a recent video:

"We will not stay silent. We will not be broken. We will not be ashamed."

Till now around these are the events that are being organized in different cities and locations around the world (keep coming back to check the updates)

Global Event launching the call and uniting all:
https://www.facebook.com/events/150788335077948

Yemen, Aden
https://www.facebook.com/events/385052684923677

Palestine, Ramallah
https://www.facebook.com/events/422047224540178

Palestine, Yaffa
http://www.facebook.com/events/442487709157165/

Morocco, Rabat
https://www.facebook.com/events/153793394777830

Syria, Damascus
https://www.facebook.com/events/219121301546293
Tunis, Tunisia
http://www.facebook.com/events/334393196678022
Lebanon, Beirut
https://www.facebook.com/events/447501321989795

Jordan, Amman
https://www.facebook.com/events/341078806000925

Denmark, Copenhagen
https://www.facebook.com/events/477337958980238

Belgium, Brussels
https://www.facebook.com/events/327518497349166

Italy, Milano
https://www.facebook.com/events/287379384723406

USA, New York
https://www.facebook.com/events/487985291258453

USA, Washington DC
https://www.facebook.com/events/133680200132921

USA, Ottawa
https://www.facebook.com/events/530256920328428

Netherlands, The Hague
https://www.facebook.com/events/334796859970837

France, Paris
https://www.facebook.com/events/554777647873506

United Kingdom, London
https://www.facebook.com/events/290741387718715

Australia, Melbourne
https://www.facebook.com/events/496947997012935

Norway, Oslo
https://www.facebook.com/events/329391147180633

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