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Egyptians Rally In Cairo To Protest Acquittal Over 'Virginity Tests'

An Egyptian woman shouts anti-military Supreme Council slogans during a demonstration in front of Cairo's high court on Friday.
Amr Nabil

Hundreds of Egyptians rallied in Cairo today to protest the recent acquittal of a military doctor charged with forcing "virginity tests" on female activists.

The AP reports:

"Protesters carried pictures of Samira Ibrahim, the young female activist who went public about the virginity test. Her decision to come forward has challenged social taboos in the Arab Muslim world where female victims of sexual abuse are often more vilified than their abusers.

"Ibrahim filed a lawsuit against a military doctor accusing him of subjecting her to a 'virginity test' last year after she was detained by the army during a protest. 'You are more honorable than those who humiliated you,' chanted a crowd of protesters that included male and female activists.

"One demonstrator carried a poster of a woman with a hand on her mouth symbolizing the way women in Egypt are forced to remain silent in the face of assaults. 'We don't want Egyptian women to be treated as second class citizen,' read the poster."

The military tribunal only brought charges against one doctor, reports USA Today, and he was acquitted on Sunday and the court denied that such tests even took place.

Ibrahim herself was at the protest. She has taken up the cause in earnest and has been giving interviews to many news organizations. Yesterday, she talked to The Guardian at length.

She said she was leading the protest because, "The future of Egyptian women is in danger." In a post-revolutionary Egypt, she told The Guardian, women are being attacked from two sides, "one is the military and the other are the Islamists."

Ibrahim said her fight doesn't stop there, tough. She said she plans to file an international lawsuit against the government.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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