By Manar Ammar
CAIRO: Egyptian women’s organizations and a number of public figures called on Egypt’s new President Mohamed Morsi to investigate recent attacks on women, specifically against non-veiled women.
The organizations and rights groups said recent reports circulating on social media websites indicate women are under a new wave of sexual violations in public.
The reports mentioned women who have been confronted with negative messages from unknown attackers in public, yelling at them to dress more modestly.
The groups condemned recent sexual violence against women in and around Tahrir Square in central Cairo. They mentioned the attack on British journalist Natasha Smith, who was attacked and sexually assaulted by a mob of men on the outskirts of Tahrir on June 17.
She was stripped of her clothes, assaulted and her camera and purse were stolen. Smith described her attack in a blog post.
“These facts reflect an anti-women patriarchal culture that views women as inferior, and consider them a sin,” read the joint statement released on Monday.
“These violations pose a threat and real danger to the presence of women in the public domain and are a blatant transgression of their rights and freedoms,” continued the statement.
The groups accused an unnamed “faction of political Islam” and anti-women figures to be opportunistic when it comes to women’s participation in public life, welcoming women when they need mobilization and casting them aside when they come close to power.
“All democratic powers denounce the attacks on women and all attempts to marginalize their role in the public sphere, through attacking them physically, as in the cases of Tahrir Square, or through interfering in their personal life and choices,” the statement continued.
An increasing number of women have reported being sexually harassed and assaulted in the iconic square and the reports brought activists together to protest the attacks during a stand-in in early June.
However, the protest itself was attacked and female protesters were again sexually assaulted.
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