“Virginity Tests” Forced On Egyptian Women Protesters

Although Egypt’s popular revolution was inspiring because, as Judy wrote a few weeks ago, women were a “strong, defiant force” in the revolt that toppled the Mubarak regime, some information is now filtering out that makes it clear that women protesters were still subject to some fairly horrible, sexist treatment. 

Amnesty International is now condemning the treatment of 18 women who were held in military detention after being arrested during a protest on March 9 (a month after Mubarak stepped down).  The women told Amnesty International that they were beaten, given electric shocks, and subjected to strip searches while being photographed.  They were then forced to submit to “virginity tests” and told that if they were “found not to be virgins,” they could be charged with prostitution.

“The army officers tried to further humiliate the women,” an Amnesty International report explained, “by allowing men to watch and photograph what was happening, with the implicit threat that the women could be at further risk of harm if the photographs were made public.”

The fact that protesters were being tortured is bad enough, but the way that this torture was specifically gendered is particularly horrifying.  This seems to have been a pattern during the protests in Egypt, despite women’s courage in participating openly in the revolt.  CBS reporter Lara Logan was brutally assaulted during the protests, and many other women have reported sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi reacted with outrage, saying that “[Egyptian women] are furious. We participated in every part of the revolution, and then as soon as it ended we were completely isolated.”

And if these allegations are true, women are right to be angry.  They were active and integral participants in the struggle against an oppressive regime – to be reduced, once again, to second-class citizens is more than these protesters will stand for.

Take Action: Sign the petition to stop military violence against Egyptian protesters.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.


Duane B.
.4 years ago


bu s.
bu s6 years ago

Totally un-called for, and unreasonable.
This is not just female issue, this is human rights violation also.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

In Egypt (and other islamic countries) women are oppressed, tortured and treated as less.
In the US, politicians are deliberately and vividly working to take away the rights for women to decide over our own bodies.
Anyone believe it will stop there?

You know, when the fundamentalist x-tians have full control, women in the US will be in the same situation as women in muslim countries. No rights, no lifes and no freedom.

Religion is an opium for the people.

I'm done

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B6 years ago

Scary, horrible, shameful!!

Petra Luna
Petra Luna6 years ago

This is terrible. This is why we need to have more female leaders on this planet.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

This is about domination and abuse. Let's see how far we can go to humiliate and degrade one another.....

John E.
John E6 years ago

* Linda Mccleary says
* Mar 24, 2011 5:01 AM

"Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss"

Yes, Linda ... 'fraid you're right.
The choice in islamic countries seems to be between nasty repressive torturing tyrant, and nasty repressive torturing islamic republic.
Some choice.

Tamara E.
Tamara E6 years ago

I meant to say "daft" not dat.

Tamara E.
Tamara E6 years ago

I cannot believe the horror that still continues to this day against women. How is it that these men never evolved? Cavemen still exist? How backwards and dat are these men? How come other countries don't intervene? Claire M's idea is great. Name the one who ordered these acts and charge him and the collaborators.Idea

Olga Paniara
Olga Paniara6 years ago

I think these people go buckwords civilisation wise Olga