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Egypt Virginity Tests

June 3, 2011 by staff 

Egypt Virginity TestsEgypt Virginity Tests, In March, Amnesty International began reporting that the Egyptian army was subjected to 17 women protesters in a demonstration in Tahrir Square “virginity tests.” The women told Amnesty he had been handcuffed and beaten, stripped and photographed search by male soldiers, and then restricted by female soldiers, while a man in a white coat visited virginity.  The army denied the accusations, but in recent days, a top general has confirmed to CNN that in fact happened virginity testing. The general justified the abuse that these women “were not as your daughter or mine. These were the girls who had camped in tents with protesters men.”

The general went on to insist that the evidence was necessary because it “did not want (women) to say they were sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove they were not virgins in the first place.”

What is the evidence of virginity? This is a controversial practice, but relatively common in Egypt – to the point that Hymenoplasty (Hymen restoration) is often sought by brides in Egypt to protect its reputation on her wedding night. But its use as a factor of intimidation by security forces appears to be a new twist.

And based on the outrage throughout Egypt on this abuse, it seems that the military’s attempt to intimidate and discredit the women protesters have been counterproductive. Human rights groups demanding a full investigation and demonstrations are planned in the coming days in support of women.

Egyptian security forces have a long and troubling history of abusing and torturing people for political purposes. They have engaged in widespread intimidation tactics from the upsurge of political violence and Islamic militancy in the decade of 1990, including the detention of women, children and the elderly. In the past two decades, the practice of arrest and detention without trial has been extended to any person deemed a threat to the military or the former regime of Hosni Mubarak, especially defense policy reforms.

Women face special abuse. For example, Esra Abdel Fattah – better known as “Facebook Girl”, which in 2008 mobilized thousands of young people to march for political change – was arrested for her leading role in the protests. Egyptian security forces tried to destroy her reputation by accusing her of being a prostitute, but their fellow Facebook saw through this trick and several young men, even proposed to her while she was detained.

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