Natasha Smith is a British journalist who was in Egypt this last week filming a documentary when she was sexually and physically assaulted by a mob, as she details in a harrowing post on her blog.
After Egypt’s first democratically elected president was announced, Smith got caught up in the euphoria and ventured toward Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square with her camera, hoping to capture some of the scenes of jubilation. Despite having two male companions as protection, she soon saw the crowd thickening and growing more menacing with each step she took toward Tahrir:
My friends and I tried to leave. I tried to put my camera back in my rucksack.
But in a split second, everything changed. Men had been groping me for a while, but suddenly, something shifted. I found myself being dragged from my male friend, groped all over, with increasing force and aggression. I screamed. I could see what was happening and I saw that I was powerless to stop it. I couldn’t believe I had got into this situation.
My friend did everything he could to hold onto me. But hundreds of men were dragging me away, kicking and screaming. I was pushed onto a small platform as the crowd surged, where I was hunched over, determined to protect my camera. But it was no use. My camera was snatched from my grasp. My rucksack was torn from my back – it was so crowded that I didn’t even feel it. The mob stumbled off the platform – I twisted my ankle.
Men began to rip off my clothes. I was stripped naked. Their insatiable appetite to hurt me heightened. These men, hundreds of them, had turned from humans to animals.
Hundreds of men pulled my limbs apart and threw me around. They were scratching and clenching my breasts and forcing their fingers inside me in every possible way. So many men. All I could see was leering faces, more and more faces sneering and jeering as I was tossed around like fresh meat among starving lions.
I shouted “salam! Salam! Allah! Allah!”. In my desperate state I also shouted “ma’is salaama!” which actually means “goodbye” – just about the worst possible thing to say to a horde of men trying to ruin me. I might as well have yelled “goodbye cruel world! Down I go!”
A small minority of men, just a couple at first, tried to protect me and guide me to a tent. The tent was crushed, its contents scattered into shards all over the ground. I was barefoot as they stole my nice new shoes. I was tossed around once more, being violated every second. I was dragged naked across the dirty ground. Men pulled my blonde hair – a beacon of my alien identity.
Smith’s horrific tale is very reminiscent of CBS reporter Lara Logan’s, who was assaulted by a Cairo mob after the fall of Mubarak in 2011. In both cases, the suggestions that the women were foreign spies were part of the mob’s bloodthirst.”But if that was the cause,” Smith writes, “it was only really used as a pretext, an excuse, to molest and violate a blonde young Western girl.”
After a sustained assault lasting about 10 minutes, some decent people in the crowd managed to hide Smith in a medical tent and eventually sneak her away in a burka. Later, she would be turned away from two different hospitals for unspecified reasons, although her admission of not being a virgin apparently didn’t help her case, because it’s only rape if you break a hymen.
Smith’s entire entry is worth reading for its honesty and compassion for the people of Egypt, whom she still respects. That an average crowd of Egyptian men can so easily be enticed to savagely assault and violate random Western women is obviously a problem though. In fact, the documentary Smith was working on was about “women’s rights and abuses against women in Egypt since the revolution.”
As bad as that Egyptian mob was, however, the comments on Smith’s blog, unfortunately, don’t reflect very well on many others either. Oh, and it doesn’t help that the neo-Nazi message board Stormfront was one of the first places to highlight the story, which means a lot of comments are less “this was awful, I weep for you” and more “Muslims are scum, let’s nuke them!” But there’s a whole assortment of crazy.
I wish we could just drop a nuke on this shit hole.
I belive there is some work of fiction in the story. No sane woman would be assulted and think about losing her “nice shoes” or that “suprisengly she is not the mood for a big mac” !!!! Those are lines from a novel.
God, how stupid are you Natasha! You really thought muslims were cool and friendly people ?!?
You really thought it was a joke, when people say these people treat women worse than animals??
Your credulity is gigantic.
I demand protection for the identity of men accused of rapes and indecent assaults on women. Why should women’s identities be protected but not in the case of men?
It’s not a first rape on Tahrir Sq. so You were stupid enough to try it yourself.
Feel free to leave more supportive comments for her or tweet your support @natasha_journo.