During the Egyptian revolution last year, women were surprised that, in general, their involvement was heralded. They talked about bringing food to men. As well as rocks. They said they were appreciated as a force and a voice. They were allowed to stand beside men and openly say what they think for the first time in recent history.
Since last spring the voices of Egyptian women has diminished. Cases involving virginity tests and sexual brutality abound.
“The hatred of women goes deep in Egyptian society. Those of us who have marched and protested have had to navigate a minefield of sexual assaults by both the regime and its lackeys, and, sadly, at times by our fellow revolutionaries,” wrote Mona Eltahawy in the latest issue of Foreign Policy.
Now, as the May 23 Egyptian Presidential elections approach, other issues creep into the understanding of the revolution from a woman’s perspective. Some women say they are scared of becoming scapegoats for Egypt’s lack of structure. Many are scared of a religious force that could gain power in the future. Most say they feel invisible, once again.