Egyptian women vow to persist in demand for rights

by Lisa Anderson | | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Saturday, 31 December 2011 10:23 GMT

Next battle: enshrining women's equality in constitution

NEW YORK (TrustLaw) - The heightened level of violence committed against women by Egypt’s military since the fall of the Mubarak regime will not deter them from seeking justice and asserting their rights, a gathering of activists and victims at Cairo’s Journalists Syndicate said.

“Virginity tests, sexual assaults, brutal beating, stripping and the continuous violations of the military police against women will not hinder their perseverance in going out and demanding their rights,” Safaa Abdoun reported in the Daily News Egypt.

“The methods the military is using against women has one objective that is to send them a message ‘to stay at home,’ because ‘this is what will happen to you when you go out,’” said Magda Adli from the Al Nadeem Centre for Psychological Rehabiliation of Victims of Violence and Torture.

Samira Ibrahim, one of seven activists subjected to a forced virginity test in a military prison last March, spoke at the gathering.

“We’re staying on the streets until our demands are met. The people will win in the end,” said Ibrahim. She won a landmark victory on Tuesday when an Egyptian court ordered the military to end forced virginity tests.

Ibrahim is slated to appear on January 3 for a military court case against the army officers who performed the virginity tests.

“The freedom of the country is the freedom of the women,” said Azza Soliman, head of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance.

“Our coming battle is the constitution, we must place a constitution that guarantees women’s rights and equality,” she said.

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