Nadeen Ashraf was 12 years old when Egypt rose up 10 years ago and forced the ouster of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak. She is now at the vanguard of what I am convinced is another revolution, this time of women rising up against tyranny of another kind: sexual assault.
When I first became a journalist in Egypt in 1990, I learned that women did not report rape or sexual assault. They were too ashamed and feared the police would not believe them or would blame them.
A few brave female activists over the years have exposed sexual assault by hired thugs and the police. Now, an Instagram account called Assault Police that Nadeen founded in July 2020 has become the platform for hundreds of survivors to speak out about sexual violence at home, at work and in social circles.
I have never seen anything like it in Egypt.
The unprecedented outpouring has forced Egypt to pass a law to protect victims’ identities. But laws alone are never enough. The women Nadeen has inspired to find their voice are forcing a long overdue reckoning. Long live the feminist revolution!
Eltahawy is a journalist and author
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