July 4th has just passed. It is the anniversary of the revolution that led to the establishment of the government of the United States of America as we know it.
Another revolution has gone on as well this week: Egypt’s first democratically-elected President, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, was just ousted by a liberal coup with the military leading charge.
But, I’m sorry. I guess we–women especially–need to be more clear about some of the goings-on of revolutions. How about this:
When you overthrow a government, DON’T RAPE WOMEN. Don’t gang rape them in the streets as part of your revolution. That’s perverted and sick and disgusting and it makes me disgusted to be a part of this world.
Did you know that this happened in 2011 to American journalist Lara Logan? She was gang-raped during the revolution that placed Morsi in office. Now it has happened to another journalist; this time a 22-year-old Dutch journalist. Yes, a 22-year-old young woman. She was raped by five men and needed surgery to recover. Raped in the street. During the revolution.
I can’t even begin to mention the women of Egypt for whom this happens all the time but especially (why, God, why?) as an act of revolutionary declaration I guess? There are women all over the world who are raped, and perhaps even more bafflingly, raped as an act of –I don’t know what –celebration? Power? Testosterone-fueled excitement? It’s disgusting.
I wrote about the Steubenville rapes a few months ago here. Many brave writers across the internet wondered how we explain to our daughters how to protect themselves and why we have to. And how to explain to our sons how to behave and how to grow up knowing that it is never acceptable to touch or advance upon or have sexual intercourse with a woman who is drunk, incompetent to defend herself, or actively resisting you. I never thought I would have to contemplate explaining a world where men gang-rape women in the streets during a political revolution in the name of I don’t know what.
What did the women of America suffer in 1776? What did they witness? What were they forced to endure? What do the women of 2013 have to offer the women of Egypt today? And what do they tell their sons and daughters?
I love this country, America. I love that America took in my battered and broken family from the pogroms of Eastern Europe before and during the Holocaust and has been a beacon of hope and new life and new identity for generations of people from all over this planet.
But God help us if we have nothing to offer women who are raped under the guise of celebration.
God help us.