A senior Egyptian general, after previous denials, has admitted to performing “virginity checks” on female protesters who were arrested following the political demonstrations in Tahrir Square back in March.
Amnesty International says that the women were “beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to ‘virginity checks’ and threatened with prostitution charges.”
The so-called “virginity tests” were performed in rooms while numbers of male soldiers watched.
Disturbingly, the general defended the horrendous practice by shaming the women, saying: “The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs).”
Says the Atlantic:
He then offered the bizarre rationale that the virginity checks were done so that the women would not later claim they had been raped by Egyptian authorities. “We didn’t want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place,” the general said. “None of them were (virgins).” He did not further explain this confounding logic.
Can you even imagine being beaten and forced to submit to something so humiliating? Surely we have our own issues with sexism and misogyny in America, but at least ours isn’t so pervasively sanctioned by militias and government. In a society where women are freely beaten and humiliated and treated as property simply because of their sex, I’m not sure where you would even begin to change the horrors that exist.