Egypt Watch

New York Times: Egyptian officials routinely abuse women without accountability

“Stripped, groped and violated: Egyptian women describe sexual abuse by officials as routine” is the title of a report published by the New York Times, which shed light on the sexual violations committed against Egyptian women who crossed paths with the Egyptian justice system.

According to the report the women, whether being victims, witnesses or the accused, were subjected to violations such as stripping and groping by the officials they had to deal with. “This treatment is illegal, but in this authoritarian and patriarchal country, there is almost nothing they can do about it,” said the report. According to the victims, who talked to the New York Times on camera, the sexual violations they were subjected to occurred inside police stations, prisons and hospitals. Some violations happen during the routine search for contraband items in prisons by police and prison guards, and others were committed by doctors who were assigned by the authorities to conduct invasive physical exams including virginity tests. Not less than 12 girls talked to the American daily about similar violations on condition of anonymity fearing arrest or social stigmatisation.

Although civil society, experts, lawyers and therapists said that there is evidence that such violations occur frequently, there are no official statistics of such violations, which human rights groups have said should be considered as torture and sexual assault. A police officer told the New York Times, on condition of anonymity, that the sexual abuse of women by police and legal authorities occurs “everywhere.” “The aim was not to gather evidence or search for contraband but to “humiliate your humanity,” the officer said.