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The PJ Tatler

by
Patrick Poole

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June 26, 2012 - 9:44 am

Reporter Natasha Smith reports:

I have been forced to leave Cairo prematurely following a horrific sexual and physical attack in Tahrir Square.

The atmosphere was one of jubilation, excitement, and happiness as I walked, accompanied by two male companions for safety along Kasr El Nil bridge. I had had an awful day, caused by problems in personal relationships, so I was so happy to be in such a wonderful environment, getting such amazing footage. Women, children and fathers smiled, waved, and cheered happily at the camera, calling out the widely used phrase “welcome to Egypt! Welcome!”. Fireworks lit up the sky. It was a moving and captivating experience.

Just as I realised I had reached the end of the bridge, I noticed the crowd became thicker, and decided immediately to turn around to avoid Tahrir Square. 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.

More at the link. This incident recalls the violent sexual attack against CBS News reporter Lara Logan, who was assaulted for 40 minutes by as many as 200-300 men.

On Smith’s “about” page she describes exactly what she was doing in Egypt:

In June, I will independently film a 20-minute documentary on women’s rights and abuses against women in Egypt since the revolution.

According to Bikya Masr there is a protest against sexual assaults planned this coming Friday in Tahrir Square. It bears mentioning that protesters in the last rally against sexual assault that took place in Tahrir Square earlier this month were also sexually assaulted.

Patrick Poole is a national security and terrorism correspondent for PJMedia. Follow me on Twitter.
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