Judy Mandelbaum

Judy Mandelbaum
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JANUARY 2, 2012 3:48PM

Egyptian military halts "virginity tests" for protesters

Rate: 9 Flag

Tahrir Square 

They sure took their time about it, but last week a court in Cairo ordered the Egyptian military to halt its practice of submitting women in its custody to controversial “virginity tests.” The tests have been only one of many humiliating measures inflicted on female demonstrators during the so-called Arab Spring in Egypt last year. The violence has continued. Last month, images of male soldiers stripping a Muslim woman down to her blue bra became a symbol of ongoing police and army brutality in that unsettled country.

Samira Ibrahim, one of at least eighteen female protesters taken into custody on Tahrir Square last March, filed suit in a Cairo court of law on behalf of her fellow victims. Human rights groups are hailing the December 27 ruling as a victory for their cause.

Why were the tests performed in the first place? The military keeps changing its line. At first, its spokesmen said that the exams were essential to prevent women from accusing soldiers (who are only doing their duty by arresting them) of rape. Now, Adel Mursi, the head of military intelligence, says: "There are absolutely no orders to conduct virginity tests. If someone conducts a virginity test, then it is an individual act and that person will be subject to a criminal investigation." Tomorrow, one of the soldiers will be court-martialed for "public indecency and not following orders."

According to a report by Amnesty International last March, after twenty-year-old Salwa Hosseini

was arrested and taken to a military prison in Heikstep, she was made, with the other women, to take off all her clothes to be searched by a female prison guard, in a room with two open doors and a window.  During the strip search, Salwa Hosseini said male soldiers were looking into the room and taking pictures of the naked women. The women were then subjected to “virginity tests” in a different room by a man in a white coat. They were threatened that “those not found to be virgins” would be charged with prostitution. According to information received by Amnesty International, one woman who said she was a virgin but whose test supposedly proved otherwise was beaten and given electric shocks.

Virginity tests are common in this patriarchal society where women are traditionally expected to enter marriage as virgins. While the ruling is welcome, it is unlikely to change attitudes in the US-financed Egyptian military any time soon. "The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine," a general told the press last May under the condition of anonymity.

These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs). ... We didn't want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren't virgins in the first place. None of them were.

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Comments

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The general's comments should give every OWS demonstrator pause.
Just when you thought the world was crazy enough. I thank God I live in a free and progressive country. Those men are despicable beasts!
r
Incredible. Just incredible what women endure in parts of the world. It's heart breaking.
R♥
Virginity tests, my ass!

Call them what they are: Government sanctioned rape and assault!
The general seems to expect his daughters to submit to authority without question; presumably those who don't should be considered who knows what. Anything he comes up with might be as bad as what I come up with.

This is the "democratic government" that the US has been supporting?
More ways to humiliate and degrade women, to categorize them and find superiority over them.
I missed this. I saw the date, January 2, 2o12.

Some creeps (humans) are sick as dead lizards!
Some people refuse self-examination. Bastard!
They're inner defiled and alienated from Good!
`
Daily we sense wretched creeps who are Base!
I mean some critters are dark lowly scat loser!
They always defile, ruin, delete and gross out!

Shame critters who ruin and are authoritarian!
Inside Hypocrites there is a dry ill/death creep!
They'd kill birds, trees, and poison air/waters!
Violence is nothing more than fear and helplessness of people. People resort to violence when they do not know how to behave in a situation that exceeds their intellect or can not understand a phenomenon. That's very sad.
Creare Site