Egypt: V for Verifiying Virginity

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

Following the appalling confirmation that virginity tests were conducted for female protesters who were detained during the Egyptian revolution, rage took over not only Egyptian females but also males who couldn't believe that those who fought for dignity and freedom had been attacked in such a humiliating way.

When the testimonies came out in March 2011, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) denied the action. However, the general who lately admitted that virginity test were conducted justified that the female detainees were not ‘normal’ Egyptian girls, and that SCAF conducted the tests to avoid sexual harassment accusations.

This video, from Tahrir Diaries, features a testimony from one of the girls tested:

The claim that the position taken to avoid sexual harassment accusations by sexually and emotionally harassing peaceful female protesters was actually met by a tornado of rage and disdain.

Michelle Gonzalez wrote:

Any individual can be raped, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, sex, sexual history, religion, etc. The arguments being made by this anonymous government official are factually incorrect and morally reprehensible.

While Zeinobia said:

I love the fact that whenever I speak about #VirginityChecks with anyone it considers it as a violation for humanity without discussion

Confirming the fact that violating a woman's privacy is an act of harassment Michelle says in the same post:

Requiring a woman to share personal details about her sexuality with government officials is a violation of her right to privacy. Information about one’s own sex life should not be subject to sanctioning by the state nor should it be used to manipulate an individual’s credibility.

A banner from a stand against SCAF which reads: "Our Daughters are a Red Line".

A banner from a stand against SCAF which reads: "Our Daughters are a Red Line".

In a post that addresses the roots of sexual harassment in Egypt, Ayman Ashour elaborates the objective of the virginity tests from his point of view:

The objective was the sexual humiliation and ultimately the shame of these women. Those who conducted this shameful operation were well aware of Egyptian hymen obsession. the term counter revolution has been used a lot in Egypt recently, rarely have I seen such a clear example of blatant criminal counter revolutionary behavior, a cruel and violent attempt to take back Tahrir from these brave honorable women.

Hymens have always been a debatable subject in Egypt..the accusations and action taken is not only a slap in the face of the Egyptian people's better half, but also a setback for two of the revolution's principles – dignity and freedom.

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

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