13 imagesOn March 9, 25-year-old Samira Ibrahim was arrested in Cairo’s Tahrir Square while participating in a protest. Along with 172 other demonstrators, including 17 women, she was forcefully removed from the protests and brought to the Egyptian Museum on the edge of the square, where she and the others were bound and tortured for seven hours before being loaded onto buses and eventually brought to Heikstep, a military detention center. There, she and the other women were forced to break themselves into two groups: virgins and non-virgins. Samira, along with six others who also identified as the former, were then subjected to ‘virginity tests’ in which they were made to strip naked in a room where soldiers watched through an open window and took photographs on their cell phones. Afterward, she was brought to a separate room where a man in a military uniform who identified himself as a doctor proceeded to examine her vagina for five minutes for the presence of an intact hymen. Samira filed an official complaint with the Egyptian military prosecution. The only woman in the group that was taken such action, she says she received phone calls with death threats on a near-daily basis since filing her case on July 1. Yet she did not desist, continuing to pursue her case despite the danger that comes with it, and even though her lawyers and human rights experts said that the outcome did not look promising. Now, nearly five months after beginning this process, an Egyptian court has ruled in Samira’s favor, officially ordering the Egyptian military to stop the use of ‘virginity tests’ on female detainees. These images trace her journey through the square on that day back in March, as told in her own words. For GlobalPost.
11 imagesAn exploration of women's role in the recent political and social uprisings in Egypt. For GlobalPost.