“Please Make it Stop:” Journalist Assaulted in Egypt

**Trigger Warning**

Lady reporters face a different kind of risk across the globe, especially in countries with political unrest.  Countries where rape is used as a weapon.  When we think about rape being used as a weapon one of the first places that comes to mind is the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Here it is a weapon of war.  But what about other countries, where there is no war, just unrest and a restlessness, or even jubilation from a president being freely elected for the first time?  Natasha Smith, a student reporter from the UK, was in Egypt covering the story.  She had male body guards with her and was caught up in the moment of excitement.  Just when she decided to leave “in a split second, everything changed.”  She found herself being drug away by an large angry mob of men.  They stole her equipment, ripped off her clothes, and tore her away from her friends.  It is only due to the kindness of a few strangers that she survived.

Read her interview with CNN.

She later recounts the experience on her blog.  She remembers thinking “please God. Please make it stop. Please God. Please make it stop.”  And yet after this terrifying experience that no one should ever had people are criticizing her.  If you do choose to read her story on her blog I gently warn you about the comments section.  There is a lot of support for her but there is also a lot of bigotry, Islamaphobia, hate, and victim blaming.  Why is it that when something happens that we don’t understand or don’t have an adequate explanation for we turn to hate.  I would say it is out of fear most of the time though that is absolutely no excuse.  I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, victim blaming is not okay.  A person is responsible for their own actions.  A rapist is responsible for raping, the victim, or survivor is never responsible.  They deserve support, and even if you cannot understand, they need empathy.  It will be hard enough processing through the assault without the judgmental assumptions and intolerance of the people around them.  Let a survivor heal, on their own terms, and in their own way.  Support and love, that is what’s needed the most.

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2 thoughts on ““Please Make it Stop:” Journalist Assaulted in Egypt

  1. fieara says:

    I can’t access her blog either from here or the CNN site. It sounds really scary, she was lucky the other people helped her and disguised her. I wonder why the rapists didn’t fear going to prison, as rape is a crime in Egypt too. And their prison conditions are not fun. This case is a big middle finger to the victim blamers, because it proves that if you’re out in daylight, are sober and with two male bodyguards, people can still try to rape you. So what’s the sense in blaming victims for drinking or being out late or alone? I was really impressed when she said to CNN that she doesn’t blame Islam or Egypt for it and understands that it wasn’t representative, which it obv wasn’t, as strangers helped her. I’m also impressed she could blog and give interviews about it instead of just being sad and unable to get over it, it must have been terrifying because there were so many attackers, and for me being naked in public would be terrifying in itself even if it didn’t happen because of assualt. I hope her documentary was not affected by the equipment being stolen or fear of going outside to film it. I can’t imagine how anyone could blame her for this, what are they saying, “don’t travel”? “don’t film a documentary for your college thesis”? “bring 3 bodyguards, not 2”? “Take a knife out in public”? “Stay pregnant in the kitchen”?

  2. fieara says:

    Also impressed with her comment that her story will get attention because she’s British and young while the local women’s similar stories won’t. Though her story seems to have only got attention from CNN, and it deserved to get more attention because her assault seems more serious than the other assaults on local women (though of course maybe that also happened to local women but the press didn’t pick up or care about those stories.) And it’s a fact that whatever happens to British people, even stuff that isn’t assault, ie drowning/falling/crashing on holiday, gets reported on our news. I just got a reply on another blog from a homophobe defending his homophobia with long, well-argued but nonsensical arguments…if only all the energy, time and money that goes into homophobia could be used to combat sexual assault and rape culture…what Natasha Smith and the strangers who helped her displayed was real humanity.

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