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Testimonies of army violations: Virginity tests

Salwa was in Tahrir sit in on March 9th.

The sit in was violently dispersed by the army with the aid of plain clothed thugs.

Salwa was arrested along with more than 160 protester that day, and they all suffered torture & humiliation.

Salwa was with another 17 women, some of them were forced to submit to ” virginity tests” with the underlying threat of prostitution charges.

Here are their stories:



Female social worker, single, 29 years old, arrested Wednesday 9 March

I was in Tahrir since the 25th of January. On the 9th of March I was doing some errands to pay the university fees. When I returned to Tahrir at 12 noon there was a counter demonstration: the people want to empty the square. They were shooting in the air. I felt terrified. Some of my friends were taken by the army and were not returned. We suggested that a group of us girls go and look for the boys in the museum. We were 5 at first and then we became more. We were chanting: the people and the army together. They opened the main gate of the museum for us and an officer said: come in. I was beaten and pushed. They told me come in you —- and they used very obscene words. When I went inside I found a young woman crying. She said they electrocuted me and her mobile was taken and broken. She was in a nervous breakdown. They tied my hands behind my back. It was loose and they had to tighten it again and again. Then 8 girls came among them journalists and university students and one of them was a university graduate. Obscene words, prostitutes, that is what they called us. The girls collapsed and began to cry. I started to collapse around sun set. Every while or so an officer would come and tell me I shall squash you. They let the journalists and the university graduates leave. At night the real problems began. I started to argue with them. I told them I want to go home. They took us in a bus and took pictures of us. I was very, very brutally beaten in the bus. They focused on me because I answered back. I spat in their faces. I was pulled like an animal from the bus. I was kicked in front of the general. I would faint, they would throw water on my face and then continue beating. We arrived at Madinet Nasr. I was screaming. We spent the night in the bus. The prison guard stripped us and was beating us with hoses. She said “girls will be examined”, women won’t. I was examined for my virginity by a man wearing a white coat and a female prison guard. The prosecution came to prison. I was interrogated by the prosecution Friday evening at 10 p.m.

Female, 25 years old (arrested on 9th of March)

She came from her home more than eight hours away in January to join in the protests in Tahrir Square. Like many others, she has stayed in Cairo, occasionally returning to camp out in the square as a reminder of the democratic promises that the military and remnants of the old regime have made. She was in the square on the afternoon of March 9 when members of the army and men in plainclothes attacked the demonstrators, arbitrarily arresting people on sight. She was one of the protesters who was dragged away from Tahrir that afternoon. Soldiers beat and kicked her. They tore her headscarf from her. And then, in what was as bizarre as it was shocking, they took her and other peaceful demonstrators to the famed Egyptian museum on the north side of the square — to be tortured. She was handcuffed to a wall in the museum complex. For nearly seven hours — almost every five minutes, she was electrocuted with a stun gun. Her torturers would sometimes splash water on her and others to make the shocks more painful. The electrical jolts were applied to her legs, shoulders and stomach. She pleaded with the soldier to stop. Repeating what the demonstrators had chanted in Tahrir Square, she said, “I begged them. I said, ‘You are my brothers. The army and the people are one.’” Her tormentor replied, “No, the military is above the nation. And you deserve this.” At around 11 p.m., she and others were moved to one of the main military prisons. She would remain there for three more days. Over those days, the abuse, insults and intimidation continued. They spit on her. All of her belongings were stolen. She was given kerosene-soaked bread for food. But the most humiliating moment was when they first brought her into the prison. She and 10 other women arrested in the square were stripped and forcibly examined to determine whether they were virgins. She had been told that any woman found not to be a virgin would have prostitution added to her charges. When they led her into the room where she would suffer this indignity, she paused for a moment. Behind the military man waiting for her, she noticed a photograph. It was a portrait of Hosni Mubarak. She asked the soldier, “Why do you keep that up there?” He replied, “Because we like him.”

Young female who spoke at the press syndicate on the 16th of March

On Wednesday I went to Tahrir square. I saw my friends being beaten and arrested. I don’t know where I got the courage to stand up to them and say kill me or release my friends. They arrested me with others, about 15 people. They told me the army wants you. They took me to a general. He saw me and said: calm down, calm down and then started slapping me and accused me of prostitution. He said: you are all over the country and people are just following you. They took me to the museum and electrocuted me in my legs. There was a woman whom they electrocuted in her chest. Terribly rude. Dirty language. A colleague tried to help us, they beat him brutally. In the military prison they made us take off our clothes. They would examine us if we were virgins. They said any girl who is not a virgin will be charged of prostitution.

Related links:

Amnesty report: Egyptian protesters forced to take virginity tests


Egyptian general admits “virginity checks” conducted on protesters




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