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March 26th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Rise in Egypt Sex Assaults Sets Off Clash Over Blame,” shows what can happen when social order breaks down in a culture and some of the horrible events that can occur.
We all remember the fate that befell Lara Logan when she was covering the uprising against Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir Square. One of the most fearless foreign correspondents in the United States was brutally raped, and her career hasn’t been the same since then. Well, it appears that what happened to Ms. Logan has become a persistent problem in Egyptian society.
Some try to explain away the rapes by noting that the protesters have refused to allow police into Tahrir Square, but it goes beyond that. The relaxation of the rules in Egyptian society has been used by nefarious individuals, criminals, to take advantage of more vulnerable people, primarily women, to commit violent assaults without fear of any consequences.
It may be true that Islamist protesters segregated the men and women in their rallies, as some in the Egyptian Brotherhood have noted. But that’s no excuse for the growing number of rapes in public areas of Egypt. It must be addressed forcefully, by enforcing the rule of law and holding the perpetrators accountable. Only then should Egypt move forward with other much needed reforms.
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