National women’s council says assault is used to discredit women
Courtesy: National Council for Women

The National Council for Women announced on Tuesday its decision to sue Qatari Al Jazeera satellite channel for “offending Egyptian women.”

Head of the Council, ambassador Mervat al-Talawy, told privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper that “Al Jazeera has been working against Egypt since the June 30 Revolution, and using harassment and the recent rape incident to tarnish the image of Egyptian women.”

On Sunday, celebrations following the inauguration of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo’s Tahrir Square were the site for at least five cases of sexual assault. A video surfaced on the Internet showing one case of a mob surrounding a woman, stripping and violently assaulting her.

The Council’s statement said that a committee would be formed to follow various harassment cases Egyptian women experience. It described the sexual assault case in Tahrir as “revenge against Egyptian women to steal their happiness.”

“These gruesome incidents that occurred recently are a continuation of the systemic political harassment the Council has previously fought and warned against during the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule. The Council predicted the repetition of such politically-oriented crimes organized by unknown parties with specific orientations and benefits,” the statement added.

The Council believes that the reason behind these incidents is to “exclude and isolate Egyptian women from public life, force them into the background and kill their joy regarding the success of the roadmap, which the whole world witnessed.”

On Monday, 14 rights organizations issued a statement calling for the National Council for Women and the Ministries of Justice, Interior, Education and Health to work together on developing a strategy to combat sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

The groups also urged the state to update the penal code to include new legal definitions for sexual assault and harassment, and widen the scope of definitions of rape. They also demanded investigations into all cases of systemic sexual violence that have taken place since the January 25, 2011 Revolution.


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