3-13-2012By Rasika Teredesai
Human Rights Defenders
On Sunday, Egyptian women activists encountered another setback in their efforts to hold their abusers accountable. An army doctor on trial for conducting “virginity tests” was acquitted, further proof that Egyptian military courts are unreliable.
The military has also been inconsistent, only sometimes admitting that the “tests” even took place. As a result, the doctor will not be held accountable. Continued impunity reinforces the prevailing narrative that women protestors are promiscuous, a rumor manufactured by the military to discredit and humiliate these women.
Still, Samira Ibrahim, a victim of the “tests,” will not accept this verdict as defeat. “You won’t break me, military,” she tweeted. She remains strong even after receiving threats on her life and losing her job because she pursued this case and demanded justice.
Women activists throughout Egypt will not be broken. They continue to organize for their right to fully participate in the new Egypt. On International Women’s Day, Egyptian women marched to demand representation in parliament and women’s equality in the new constitution. Even if legal avenues are unsuccessful, these courageous efforts will continue until women’s aspirations for justice and equality become reality.