Thursday, July 4, 2013

Where there is violence against one, there is violence against all

From the Guardian's live coverage of the developments in Egypt comes one rather unsettling number: 101. That is number of recorded sexual assaults against women in Tahrir Square from June 28 - July 3. The statement by Nazra for Feminist Studies is well-worth repeating:

The undersigned organizations and groups believe that the strategy of using sexual assault to "stigmatize" women demonstrators opposing Mohammed Morsi is irresponsible and will not contribute to eradicating rape and sexual assault. Sexual violence has become a stable feature of the streets of Egypt, and not necessarily associated with large crowded demonstrations. The approach adopted by the Egyptian authorities only contributes to the aggravation of the problem.

During the Morsi regime, the use of "virginity tests" as a means of torturing and humiliating women dissidents was apparently a mainstay. Given that this was done by the very military now taking what we hope is only temporary control of the country is equally unsettling, and I can find the suspicions and unease that might characterize the responses from secular leftists in Egypt to be quite rational. As a socialist, I would find that any revolutionary government or organization that perpetrates and excuses sexual assault to be fundamentally at odds with Marxian principles, and entirely unworthy of continued support. The struggle to eliminate all organizational and structural violence has merely begun.

Update: Please read Epidemic of Sexual Violence

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