When I wrote in my memoir about the corrupted culture with backward tribal ideas that provided all the privileges to men, my women friends blamed me for misrepresenting Muslim culture. They denied, like many women living in that culture, the endemic disease of sexual abuse and rape that infest the Muslim world.
These women were not objecting to the truthfulness of my words, but they wanted no exposure like many girls who have been raped. To avoid shame and loss of possible chances to find a husband, raped women opt for denial carrying within their sole a sense of shame and humiliation. The prevailing culture burdened them with the belief that a woman’s hymen would preserve the honor of her family.
I, myself, found it difficult to write about incest in my memoir for the same reasons. However, after interviewing many women, I discovered that many have experienced one way or the other a sexual abuse from a family member or boyfriends. Sadly, they all chose to live with it and its psychological effect to preserve the family dignity in their society, rather than point their finger at the abuser. They knew they would be blamed just like Samira Ibrahim, the brave young girl who recently during the Egyptian Revolution has been subjected to virginity test by military police officers. She raised her finger and pointed at her abuser unaware that the culture denial has not changed and that her chances to win the case are slim to none.
Just last week, a military court not only, postponed the case of Samira’s virginity test, but denied her witnesses from talking about what had happened. All witness who came from the military ranks denied the incident. Not a single women organization came to her defense or even lifted a finger to help. For a topping, the military persecutors slapped Samira with another lawsuit accusing her of misconduct and of causing public disturbance as means to threaten her to silence or dropping the case against one of them. On March 11, the anniversary of the virginity incident, the military court dropped all charges, and exonerated the Virginity test’s perpetrators. Now, she has to face and defend her case against a public opinion that is in a state of denial and tend to vilify the victims of sexual cases.
Has the sexual abuse of Muslim women gone public now in the land of thousand Minarets and churches, the land of Al Azhar University, and the land of thousands speakers blasting the sacred words of God five times every day? What do we expect from the Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood who are now in charge of Egypt? Is it time for a new spark to ignite the women revolution?