Danger in Tahrir Square: Mob sexual violence in Egypt

Tahrir Square,Egypt.Photo courtesy of answersafrica.com
Tahrir Square, Egypt.
Photo courtesy of answersafrica.com

By Teodora Drăgulescu

Mass sexual assaults in Egypt’s Tahrir Square have become a grim hallmark of the site synonymous with the Arab Spring protests. Successive regimes have turned a blind eye to mob rape and sexual harassment, tacitly sanctioning society to enact violence against women.

Sexual harassment has long been a problem in Egypt, but mob assaults have dramatically intensified in both frequency and brutality in the four years since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. In an unprecedented move in June 2014, an Egyptian criminal court in Cairo sentenced nine men to lengthy prison terms (2) for participating in the kind of mob sexual assaults against women that have become pervasive, particularly in the iconic Tahrir Square.