2016 will bid us a farewell in the forthcoming days without any conclusive solutions in the foreseen horizon regarding deep feminist issues such as Domestic violence, marital rape, female illiteracy and deprivation of women’s inheritance in Upper Egypt.
When we look back on 2016, we will find it a year filled with extreme lows for women’s rights, most of them was caused by the State itself, which declared that 2017 is the year of Egyptian women.
In 2016.. Women have seen the worst verbal attacks against their rights
In the early days of December 2016, the Egyptian member of the Parliament, “Soheir El Hady”, submitted a bill approved by 60 members amending Egypt’s Personal Status Law 25 of 1929, which regulates all issues related to family, including marriage, divorce and child custody. Hadi’s amendments have targeted certain articles on child custody, it proposes that divorced fathers should have the right to host their children for two days every week if the mother has custody. Fathers will also have the right to spend a month of the school summer vacation with their children, in addition to shifting custody from mother to father if she remarries, under the current law, if a divorced mother remarries, child custody is appointed to her mother, her mother-in-law or a sister.
“Hady” engaged in a self-defeating behavior, for being a woman and issuing a bill which backfires at her own sex, implying the fact that the right of a woman to simply marry is casted as a punishment, while at the same time, the father is free to enjoy his husbandry rights, further assuming that a stepmother will be of a more maternal and a merciful figure, than the true mother who bore her child for 9 months in her womb, shall be.
Let alone the psychological repercussions the child is to suffer from, in case of his mother’s abandonment, from the deep-seated Freud’s psychoanalytic perspective. This is indeed a misogynistic law which does not qualify to any explanation.
Another shameful member of the parliament is “Elhamy Ageena”, who promotes the brutal practice of female genital mutilation “FGM” instead of combating it since Egypt has a very high rank globally in performing this misogynistic action; which is known to have psychological consequences haunting a woman for life, if she was blissful enough to survive its death.
He has insisted women should undergo genital mutilation because the country’s men are sexually weak, and said “if we stop FGM, we will need strong men and we don’t have men of that sort.”
Other shameful calls, include banning women from wearing feminine, attractive tight trousers at the parliament, leading to limiting her freedom, and worst of all is calling for enforcing the virginity tests amongst the university students; and suggested that university cards could only be issued to female students on completion of a virginity test.
Indeed, the fact those courses of action promote fears amongst all Egyptian women since some members of our parliament are not qualified enough to perform their legislative authority, so that instead of progressing the economic status of country, they are regressively taking us years behind the feminist history in an era led by many successful women such as Theresa May in UK, Angela Markel in Germany, even the IMF is led by Christine Lagarde.
FGM: Enhancing the penalties and the culture cracks down on the new law
Egypt has around 85 to 92% of its females performing FGM annually with the help of midwives, doctors or barbers who consider it a sort of considerable wealth making advantage of the parents who consider their mutilated girl a source of their pride, despite the physical and the psychological repercussions of such a misogynistic barbaric action, which 50% of the Egyptians consider it a favorable action.
Although some fresh breezes of air were introduced in 2015 when the father of the late mutilated, “Soheir El Batea” was sentenced to 3 months in prison, alongside the doctor who performed her “feminine manslaughter” serving 2 years in prison with a fine of 500, yet it has to be acknowledged that this verdict did not prohibit fathers nor doctors from performing FGM, especially after the death case of “Mayar Moussa” in a private hospital in Suez in May 2016, came under spotlight.
Such an incident proves that there are further, deeper legal and cultural actions that needed to be done on the facto level as well as on the jure one, because paying 500 pounds only, doubt the seriousness of the government in combating the epidemic, also, still there is a lack of a cohesive cooperation between the civil society organizations under the auspices of the religious authorities and the executive ones, to eradicate such a deep seated cultural epidemic.
Other taboos that need to be tackled: Marital Rape should be addressed on the Tables
Marital rape has been discussed recently by “Dr Khaled Montasser” in AlWatan newspaper, tackling the issue which we hope to be outspoken on a societal scale in 2017 leading to legislative acts against the raping husband, since marital rape is considered a facet of domestic violence, especially that it has its own physical effects of injuries to the female vagina, such as vaginismus, which affect her reproductive organs, abilities as well as her urination control.
In a report published at “Youm 7″ newspaper, there were cases for women whom husbands used tools to perform sexual abuse during the intercourse without her consent, to the extent that one of them had her husband to drug her completely with “Tradamol” leading her to its addiction, alongside another who had her husband “suffocating her with a pillow leading to her unconsciousness”; all such cases are a strong reminiscent to the absurd “salafy fatwa” which called for “the farewell sex” implying that a man can have intercourse with his wife’s corpse, actually both are one; whether dead or unconscious. Such is a strong misogynistic disaster that needs to be tackled widely in our society.
Other actions to combat legally and culturally.. Women Inheritance in Upper Egypt and Honor Crimes
Those are our two deeply rooted cultural epidemics that have no religious framework, nor were they tackled seriously by any government nor any parliament, although being misogynist, since women are entitled to inheritance in the Islamic sharia, but as Dr Ghada Waly the minister, stated that there are entire towns in Upper Egypt, that deprive women of all their inheritance ownerships obliging them to marry “within their family ties and receive a small amount of money called redwa in return for giving up their legal rights”; leading women to lose their independence.
Honor crimes and the legal equality between both sexes regarding adultery should be openly tackled as well, since the current law punishes the woman for 15 years of hard labor in case caught red handed while the husband is imprisoned from 24 hours to 3 years.
Far worse, this verdict is to be applied if the man “commits adultery in the home of the married couple”, as if the verdict will be null and void if committed in a hotel for example, or in the mistress’s home.
A Researcher and Writer at Wlaha Wogoh Okhra