El-Sisi's wife visits Tahrir assault victim

Ahram Online, Friday 13 Jun 2014

Wife of Egypt's new president paid a visit to the woman who was subject to a gang sexual assault in Tahrir Square

Screen shot of Intissar Amer, wife of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, in one of her rare appearances before El-Sisi was declared president.

The wife of Egypt’s new president on Friday visited a woman who had been sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square last week, Al-Ahram’s Arabic website reported.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi had visited the same woman, whose ordeal was captured in a graphic video, on Wednesday.

During celebrations held by supporters of El-Sisi over the past week marking his victory in recent presidential elections, Tahrir Square witnessed a series of gang sexual assaults. Women’s rights campaigners have long complained of a pattern of similar attacks at protests and public gatherings.

The visit of Intisar Amer, the president's wife, comes after much anticipation on the nature of the role the first lady would play, given a lack of legal guidelines.

On Wednesday, national television showed El-Sisi visiting the woman at Helmiya military hospital in Cairo. In the footage, he presented the woman with a bouquet of flowers and apologised to her and to all Egyptian women subjected to sexual abuse. He also promised her a pilgrimage to Mecca at the state's expense to help her convalesce. 

El-Sisi has vowed to implement tougher measures against the crime, and ordered the formation of a ministerial committee to look into ways to combat the problem. A number of men have been arrested and charged have been made in relation to attacks on Sunday and last week, according to police statements.

Last week, former interim president Adly Mansour issued a law criminalising sexual harassment for the first time. Women’s rights groups viewed the legal reform as a positive step, but many have called for further legal reforms that would widen the definitions of rape and sexual assault.

Short link: