By Rebecca Theodore
At times, it is difficult to tell if Egypt’s military coup is for the besieged cry of liberty and democracy, or whether it is an opportunity for anti-Morsi protesters to viciously carouse their impudence for violence and death. Whatever the perceptions, it is now evident that a military coup has now turned into an abhorrent spectacle of sexual assault on women.
Rebecca Theodore is an op-ed columnist based in Washington, DC. She writes on national security and political issues. Follow her on twitter @rebethd or email at email@example.com
Using the obsolete template that ‘women should be veiled in the privacy of their homes,’ thugs are continuing to abuse the security vacuum in Egypt’s Tahir square. Hundreds of women are falling victim to rampant sexual attacks as the abominable weapon of sexual assault silences women from participating in public life.
“The latest outbreak of sexual attacks on women is now an epidemic. Women are raped with knives, blades, and beaten with metal chains, sticks and chairs,” according to human rights reports.
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women confirmed that “99.3 percent of women in Egypt have experienced some form of sexual harassment,” while studies show that “the pattern of sexual abuse in Egypt is a systematic form of violence that has prevailed for years.”
Whereas activists propose that the crime of sexual assault in Egypt follows a structural design that need to be urgently addressed and brought to international prominence; critics charge that the Unites States is hardly a model to comment or condemn.
In all truism, even if the evidence that the United States military also commit sexual assaults with little impunity is ignored, it still becomes easy to see how the United States wins a septic reputation and strangles women in its yoke. Newsweek reported in 2011 women are more likely to be a victim of a sexual assault by a fellow soldier than to be killed in combat. The Pentagon estimated 19,000 sexual assaults occur in the military per year, but only 1,108 troops filed for an investigation. And of those only 575 cases were processed.
In those 575 cases, 96 faced court-martial.
And the irony beams.
Both Egypt and the United States are conditioned to the savage and callous crime of sexual assault on women. They are both guilty of dramatizing sexual assault as a performance act that is edited, directed, and overlooked by the media as a normal occurrence of daily life. The Pentagon has not promised to take any actions to tackle the problem of sexual assault in its own military and humorous Senate hearings on sexual assault leaves Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) to conclude that “the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.”
The outpouring of billions in foreign aid to administer human rights and democracy continues to channel criticism into the political process and lay much ammunition for further rounds of conflict in Egypt.
These diminished horizons vividly show that it is the system that aids and reinforces the brutalities of sexual assault on women and that sexual assault has not abated since the darkness of the middle ages.
Whatever the fight for democracy is or will become in Egypt, the ghastly toll of sexual assault in Egypt screams to the world that human rights for women must be re-numbered among the many tenets of social justice, and that sexual assault on women is a crime against humanity.
Consequently, the pseudo dominant social imagery that shows women as less human now yearns for questioning. The tactics that are designed to intimidate women and exclude them from active participation in public life must be internationally politicized.
Maybe the throng of unborn illegitimate sons will care enough to seek a new revenge as women continue to be raped before the eyes of their mothers in Egypt, but for now their story is lost in the news of the world.
Their cries need to transcend from the chorale of the damned.