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Egypt Sexual Assault Video Highlights Violence Against Women

Cellphone video shows a woman being stripped and beaten at new Egyptian president el-Sisi's inauguration.

Egypt Sexual Assault Video Highlights Violence Against Women
Al Tahrir TV
SMS

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was sworn in on Sunday and thousands of Egyptians celebrated at Tahrir Square, the iconic location of the 2011 revolution. Sunday's celebrations were overshadowed by a gruesome scene though — a mob sexual assault. 

A cellphone video reportedly captured the horrific event was posted on YouTube Monday. This blurry clip gives a glimpse of the chaos just as police are escorting the 19-year-old woman into a van.

The assault comes just days after Egypt's outgoing interim president issued a decree criminalizing sexual harassment, something that the New York Times reports now-President el-Sisi has vowed to uphold. (Via The New York Times)

The disturbing video isn't the only part of this story that's caused outrage though. An Egyptian Al Tahrir TV anchor interrupted a reporter at the Square as she was talking about the sexual assaults and ...

... reportedly laughed off-camera as she heard it and said, "It's because they are happy." 

Mada Masr reports that the anchor claimed she was talking to someone at the studio and was unaware that her microphone was on, saying: "I’m not justifying. I’m explaining the incident. I was talking to the guests about the happiness of Egyptians, not about the harassment."

The Egyptian sexual harassment watchdog group, "I Saw Harassment", told Al Arabiya that they had documented at least five other victims attacked by the mob on Sunday night. The group condemned the interior ministry for it's lack of preparedness. 

Sunday's mob sexual assault is not a unique case either. Al Jazeera wrote in August last year that the attacks are becoming an epidemic in Tahrir Square:

"The speed, efficiency and ferocity of the attacks imply that they are orchestrated, and many believe they are used ... to deter women from protesting while simultaneously discrediting demonstrators. But the fact that the assaults occurred under Mubarak, the military, Morsi and the current interim president ... suggest the problem may have far deeper roots."

A study in April of last year by the United Nations reported that 99.3 percent of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

Seven men have been arrested in connection with the sexual assaults, and could face up to five years in prison with a maximum fine of around 7,000 U.S. dollars.