When army officers violently cleared Tahrir Square on 9 March – the day after International Women’s Day – 18 women were detained, beaten, given electric shocks, of which 17 were then subjected to strip searches, forced to submit to ‘virginity tests’ and threatened with prostitution charges.
The women’s accounts are those of rape victims. One woman, Salwa Hosseini, told her story to CNN:
Salwa Hosseini, a 20-year-old hairdresser and one of the women named in the Amnesty report, described to CNN how uniformed soldiers tied her up on the museum’s grounds, forced her to the ground and slapped her, then shocked her with a stun gun while calling her a prostitute.
“They wanted to teach us a lesson,” Hosseini said soon after the Amnesty report came out. “They wanted to make us feel that we do not have dignity.”
The treatment got worse, Hosseini said, when she and the 16 other female prisoners were taken to a military detention center in Heikstep.
There, she said, she and several of other female detainees were subjected to a “virginity test.”
“We did not agree for a male doctor to perform the test,” she said. But Hosseini said her captors forced her to comply by threatening her with more stun-gun shocks.
“I was going through a nervous breakdown at that moment,” she recalled. “There was no one standing during the test, except for a woman and the male doctor. But several soldiers were standing behind us watching the backside of the bed. I think they had them standing there as witnesses.”
Again, the account reads as one from a rape victim, which of course it is.
An Egyptian General admitted the so-called “tests” had been done, and rationalized them as a way to prove the women weren’t “like your daughters or my daughters.”
But he was wrong. Those women were his daughters, and are my daughters. And need it be said… God’s daughters.