Egyptian women under patriarchal mentality-6

Violence - circumcision - harassment - revealing virginity - honor crimes

News Center - The suffering of Egyptian women has increased, especially in the modern era, many phenomena have been invaded by the country, some of them since ancient times, such as circumcision, and some of them at new times, such as the phenomenon of harassment, virginity revelations, and honor crimes that have been increasing day after day. The girls face circumcision, then humiliating virginity checks, and they are harassed every day.

 Violence against women

 Women are subjected to at least one of the violent forms in the world every day, especially in the Middle East and society considers this violence a natural matter.

 In Egypt, violence against women is an integral part of the mentality of the male society, and women are trained in it from birth in order for it to take hold in their mind that this is from the nature of life and they must bear it, whether they have sinned or not because they are less than men and their property.

 Violence takes many forms, including circumcision, child marriage, etc., but the known and agreed violence is physical and psychological abuse and issued many groups of local and international reports revealed statistics about violence against women in Egypt, including the research released by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics in 2015, the report says 46% of girls are subjected to violence before marriage, but this research may be limited about the real situation of women because the nature of women hides the violations because they face many problems, including the concept of defective family privacy, and some of them consider that violence as the nature of life and does not classify it as a violation of their rights.

 The report sheds light on the educational level of the husbands, that men who have high levels of education are less violent than those who have simple or illiterate education.

 For the material level in the family lives, the report confirms that violence increases among the poorest families.

The report says the fathers are the first accused of violence against girls over 18 years old and the percentage is 43%.

 In 2017, a conducted study confirmed that the percentage of women who are subjected to violence by their husbands decreased from 42.5% to 37%, and 35.1% of women are subjected to physical violence while 47.5% are subjected to psychological violence and 14.5% are subjected to sexual violence.

 The effects of violence on women are huge and 86% of women suffer from psychological problems.

 In 2018, the percentage of women who experienced psychological violence decreased to 42.5%, and young women are those who were the most subjected to violence, the psychological violence rate for women aged 25-29 was 47%, and the physical violence rate remained the same rate at 35.1%, and the percentage of women who experienced sexual violence remained at the same rate at 14.5%.

 The women’s educational level led to reducing the rate of violations against them.

The phenomenon of circumcision

 Circumcision has a long history since the time of the Pharaohs and despite all campaigns against it, the percentage is still high compared to other Arab and African countries, and it is still spreading, UNICEF says Egypt is the circumcision capital in the world because the country is performing the female genital mutilation operations and the rate of reaching to 92% among married women, so Egypt becomes at the forefront of the countries where circumcision operations take place, and it ranked first in the world in 2014.

 Since 1920, individual efforts against the FGM began in Egypt, and after a child named Mayar died in 2016, at Al-Swiss hospital during a scientific procedure conducted by a female doctor, the law on the FGM was changed and turned from a misdemeanor to a felony because it causes permanent disability.

 Every year, Egypt launches an anti-FGM campaign to coincide with the international day against it, but the last campaign (in 2019) was one of the strongest campaigns, the state’s organizations and women's organizations, and human rights organizations launched several awareness campaigns to combat the FGM and warned of its dangers both psychologically and physically for women, and society.

 The campaign launched by the government represented by the National Committee of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood lasted for a month under the name “Bdoor Month” and coincided with the International Day for the Elimination of FGM, each year on the fourteenth of June, this campaign targets all regions and governorates of Egypt and the campaign starts on June 13   lasted until July 14 of the same year, and the campaign took its name from the girl Bdoor who lost her life as a result of circumcision operation took place in 2007.

 The campaign also included social media and audio-visual and print media to break the barrier of silence towards the suffering of millions of girls who are victims of the heinous practice that does not benefit, but rather endangers their lives and their future for destruction.

 The two Islamic religious institutions of Al-Azhar and Christianity also participated to clarify the position of religion on female circumcision and confirmed that it is merely a practice that has nothing with religious legislation.

 In 2018, the statistics spread the percentage of women who were circumcised at the ages of 18-64 was 90%, and girls at the ages of 18-19 was 62%, and girls at the ages of 20-24 was 75 %.

 The punishment for the perpetrators of the circumcision crime was between five and seven years in prison

 In 2014, statistics were published and according to them, the rates of circumcision varied between the governorates and the high percentage was in coastal and countryside, and the circumcision rate in Cairo was 35%.

 The percentage of circumcision of married women aged 14-42 was 92%.

The percentage of circumcision of girls aged 15-29 was 79.5%.

The percentage of circumcision of girls aged 1-17 was 21%, and of girls aged 16-17 was 65%

The percentage of mothers who want to practice circumcision operations for their daughters was 37%.

 The percentage was low in Port Said at 15%, Damietta at 10%, Qalyubia at 68%, and the percentage was highest in Qena Governorate at 91%


 The phenomenon of harassment is old, and it has increased dramatically with the wave of disrespecting women and considering women just a permissible body for all men. Egypt was ranked by the United Nations as the second country in the rates of harassment after Afghanistan.

 The Egyptian authorities used harassment as a weapon against women for the Black Wednesday incident that took place on May 25, 2005, when supporters of the President, and Hosni Mubarak, assaulted female journalists and demonstrators in front of the Journalists Syndicate. The female journalist demonstrated against the constitutional amendment and was sexually and physically harassed.

 The Egyptian authorities had closed the case file, and a ruling was not issued even if eight years have passed since the incident happened, despite the victims' complaints being submitted with a report to the African Committee, but Egypt ignored the committee’s decision.

 In 2008, a study conducted by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights revealed that 83% of Egyptian women were subjected to harassment in various forms, 72% of them wear modest clothing, including the hijab, although there are laws criminalizing harassment, it is not sufficient

 In 2012, a study conducted by the National Council for Human Rights found that more than 70% of Egyptian women were subjected to harassment in public places, and in 2013, UN Women published a study on harassment of women in Egypt, and the percentage of women subjected to harassment in one of its forms was 99%.

 Paragraph A of Article 306 of the Penal Code of 2014 stipulates that "the accused person shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of no less than six months and a fine between three and five thousand pounds.

 In the legal amendment prepared in 2011, the government added nine articles related to harassment, and stipulates to abolish article 17, which gives the judge clemency to the harasser; in addition, the new amendment guarantees the protection of children from sexual assault crimes.

 In 2017, Parliament introduced amendments to the harassment law that include disabled people.

Examination of virginity

 Examination of virginity is not widespread in the Arab countries in general, as it is a modern habit and this practice contradicts the laws and ethics and reflects the loss of confidence in society and an attempt to control women through the concept of honor and link it to the behavior of women and their hymen.

 The phenomenon of revealing or examining virginity to know that the girl still has the hymen takes a secret form in Egypt, but in Morocco, it is open and the existence of a virgin document within the marriage papers.

 Whatever the ratio, this habit remains a social problem, fueled by misconceptions about women and reducing the concept of honor to their bodies.

 The Egyptian authorities used statements of virginity to threaten the opposition and force them to change their political positions, such as what happened during the demonstrators in Tahrir Square in the 2011 revolution when the army forces detained 17 demonstrators and conducted virginities without their consent and threatened them with fabricating charges of prostitution for them. 

 Honor crimes

 Egypt is the first Arab country in the commission of honor crimes, but this ancient heritage in the Egyptian society existed since the days of the Pharaohs, remains to these days as a basic feature in the society of all various classes.

 In 1997, the CWELA organization started fighting against the honor crimes phenomenon by organizing campaigns, this organization is an Egyptian NGO working in the field of violence against women and aims to provide assistance to low-income women.

 In 2016, the National Center for Social and Criminal Research in Egypt issued a report that included statistics on honor crimes, which write that the rate of the crimes committed by a man in the family in Egypt under the name of an honor crime was 92%. The details of the report clarified that  70% of these crimes are committed by husbands against their wives, 20% are committed by brothers against their sisters, 7% by parents against their daughters, and 3% by children against their mothers

 Overall, 70% of these crimes occurred without evidence.  52% of women were killed by weapons such as a knife and a cleaver, 11% were dumped from heights, 9% by suffocation, 8% by poison, 5% by gunshot, and the worst was torture to death was 5%.


 The only article that gives a mitigating excuse to the perpetrator is the Article 237 of the Egyptian Penal Code, which states, "Anyone who surprised his wife if he committed her fornication and killed her, and whoever commits adultery with her, shall be punished with prison instead of the penalties prescribed in Articles 234 and 236."  Accordingly, we find that the Egyptian law considers that the women’s body belongs to men

Tomorrow:  Marriage, divorce, and rape cases