After Mubarak was toppled, however, the "safe space" evaporated. Many instances of violence and sexual assault on women have been reported since, none of which have yet been prosecuted, according to HRW.
Women who have publicly reported their assaults at the hands of the military since the revolution have been doubted, shamed and accused of being prostitutes. Many keep silent because the Egyptian public still holds the military in high regard, say activists. "Women are terrified to file complaints because the military remains a red line in Egyptian society," said Morayef.
Soldiers reportedly performed "virginity tests" on seven women they detained in March during a protest on International Women's Day. The military announced on Tuesday, nine months after the incident, that the incident had been referred to the High Military Court and is at the trial stage. The lawyer for one of the victims told HRW that he was not given any information about the trial when he inquired Thursday morning.
In November Egypt's riot police, under the military's command, arrested several female journalists and protesters and "sexually assaulted and beat at least two of them," according to HRW. One of the detained was Mona Al Tahawy, an Egyptian-American journalist who described her assault on Egyptian television. "They groped my breasts […] I was pulling so many hands out of my pants, screaming, 'Stop!' I was the only woman there, surrounded by men."
After the incident, an Egyptian army colonel was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "What did she expect would happen?"