Egyptian women’s orgs can’t join 16 Days Against Gender Violence campaign

November 25th was the International Day for The Elimination of Violence Against Women, and it launched the the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign which culminates on December 10th, International Human Rights Day.

This year’s 16 Days theme is “Militarism and Ending Violence against Women, ” which offers the chance for us to address the challenges faced by many women living in increasingly militarized zones. As we know, wars escalate violence against women.

In Egypt, we have seen beautiful and powerful participation by women, and an increasing prominence of women as Egyptians fight for their freedoms. The escalation of violence in Egypt over the past few weeks however (discussed in the video below), demonstrated the role of women in this movement as women’s organizations had to suspend their activities for the 16 Days Campaign.

Here is an excerpt from a statement from Egyptian women’s groups, posted on the website of the organization Women Living Under Muslim Laws:

We started planning several activities based on this year’s theme, however, due to the current circumstance and the violations committed against protestors, the organizations signing this statement decided not to take part in the campaign, and to join the protests against police and military forces brutality, and the abuses by the ruling authorities.

For months, injured of the Egyptian revolution have established a sit-in in different areas including Tahrir Square calling for the state to cover their treatment expenses and give them compensations. On Saturday, 19 November, security forces dispersed the injured using violence which provoked people to go back to Tahrir again to support them (like what happened on 28/29 June) against police brutality and military rule…

Women in this second wave of the revolution are participating more, although it is more violent, they are challenging the protective circles that are built around them by the patriarchal society. We have witnessed women brought out of the frontline losing conscience due to tear gas, and we have followed cases of women who got detained by security forces and we are in the process of documenting the circumstances in which they were arrested and the violence that was used against them…

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women we are asking for your support to the Egyptian revolution, in its second wave, to move into a peaceful stage and continue our role in building our country and continue playing our role.

This struggle, that the women of the Egyptian revolution are currently facing, is one for us all. As we occupy different places around the US and the world, we have to stand against militarism for many reasons, but clearly and directly for it’s complicity in violence against women.

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