Saturday, June 30, 2012

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"Please make it stop."

Cairo (CNN) Amid the celebrations that greeted the declaration of a winner in Egypt's first freely elected presidential vote, a British student journalist was being sexually assaulted by a mob in Tahrir Square.

Natasha Smith recounted the experience on her blog and in an interview with CNN. Smith, who has since left Egypt, wrote that the moving demonstrations of freedom turned to horror "in a split second" when dozens of frenzied men dragged her away from two male companions and began to grope her "with increasing force and aggression."

"Men started ripping off all my clothes," she told CNN. "First of all, it was my skirt, and that just went straight away, and I didn't even feel my underwear being removed. Then my shoes went and clothes on my upper half were just being ripped off me, and that was quite painful."

During the assault, "I was just in this weird, detached state of mind, and I just kept saying, 'Please God, please make it stop. Please, God, make it stop.' "

Read more HERE

Smith's experience echoes the assaults faced by two prominent female reporters, CBS News correspondent Lara Logan and Egyptian-American columnist Mona Eltahawy, who has said her attackers were officers at a police station. One of Smith's friends, Callum Paton, told CNN the mob dragged Smith naked across the ground before another group of men stepped in to protect her.

The Arab Spring is not Spring Break

After South African war correspondent Lara Logan was pack raped by a mob in Tahrir Square last year, I took a ration of shit at work when I referred to the incident as a failure of cultural / situational awareness. My exact words were something to the effect; "That blonde journalist who got herself raped in Tahrir Square."

I'm in the security business, my clients travel overseas and I don't know how I can advise them regarding situations like this and be politically correct at the same time. And yet there it was, I had uttered the forbidden words; " herself raped..."

To me it's like the Emperor's new clothes. For a young woman from the west, dressed in a t-shirt, to enter a mob of men in any Arab country - especially during times of political strife - she might as well have herself thrown into the general prison population at San Quentin, the doors locked behind her and all the guards turn their backs and go away. The results will be the same.

Served two six month tours in Egypt, at MFO South Camp down by Sharm el Sheik, and sexual assault situations of Arab men on Western women were not uncommon; in fact it happened with mind-numbing regularity. Everything from openly masturbating in front of Western women to full-on gang rape.

Westerners simply cannot fathom the extreme sexual frustration of Arab society. In certain circles, for a woman to be in public dressed in jeans and a t-shirt - or even worse, shorts - is the equivalent of a pornographic movie.

And the audience has the same level of sexual frustration as the inmate population of San Quentin Federal Penitentiary.

Ladies, you have been warned . . .



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