Egyptian feminist Kholoud Bidak: “A militarized country is the last thing we ever wanted.”
“In March 2011, it was the army that did the virginity tests to 18 women who were caught from Tahrir.” says Kholoud Bidak, an Egyptian feminst activist who works for the Nazra for Feminist Studies in Cairo.
Oppressed so long under the regime of Mubarak, the women in today’s Egypt are suffering equally in the hands of soldiers. Sexual violence and the existence of women have so long been ignored not only by the Islamists, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood, but also by the anti-regime protestors, civil society and the left-wing parties. The struggle is hard, if not harder, but as Kholoud Bidak says, women are on the streets every day to remind the rest of Egypt of their presence until the message goes through.
Kholoud, we wish to listen to you and the women you organize and unite with. Why and how did the unrest start again?
Basically, people went to the streets again to show their refusal of the Muslim Brotherhood rules and to get rid of Morsi who’s now the former President of Egypt.
Under what circumstances are you struggling on the streets as women?
Being a woman in Egypt, even before the revolution, means that you’ll get sexually harnessed -verbally, physically or both- no matter how you look and how old you are! Add to this the neglecting of the society including the civil society, intellectuals and the left parties.
There was only one collective called http://harassmap.org/en/ that started to work on this issue before the revolution. Now and after the increase of the sexual assaults, there are more efforts and collectives that working on this issue. Especially the role that OpAntish (Operation Against Sexual Assaults & Harassment) plays is crucial.