A Coptic journalist has detailed her frustration living as a woman in an Egyptian society where men regularly treat Christian woman as whores, and shared ways in which the Coptic Church has also mistreated females.
Engy Magdy, a Cairo-based journalist, authored an op-ed published by Brooklyn-based Catholic news website The Tablet on Wednesday that detailed the plight that women, especially Christian woman, face in Egypt.
“To be a woman in a country where most of her people see women as a disgrace, and at best look at her from a sexual point of view, it is a heavy burden, but even worse when you are a Christian woman,” she wrote. “It is hell!”
As many women across the world today are speaking out about the sexual abuses they have faced at the hands of men, Magdy said that sexual harassment in Egypt should be described as a country-wide “epidemic.” She cited a 2013 United Nations study that found that 99 percent of Egyptian women have been subjected to harassment.
In the Muslim-majority African country, Christian women and other religious minorities who don’t cover their heads in public are targets.
“Most Muslim women in Egypt wear hijab and therefore, the others who do not wear it are most likely Coptic,” Magdy said. “This means that the Egyptian man thinks he has the right to harass her, simply because he sees her as a whore and a disbeliever.”
“You may think that I am talking about a certain class of men, but in fact, most Muslim men (not all, but the majority) view the Coptic woman as easy prey,” she continued. “He thinks that he will have a religious reward if he can manipulate her emotionally and persuade her to marry him, or to convert to Islam, a phenomenon prevalent in Upper Egypt.”
Magdy explained that she is careful to watch out for those types of men, some of whom she has worked with in the past.
“[S]ociety looks at the woman who is liberal and open minded, especially if she is Coptic, in a very bad way,” she added.
What’s worse, Hagdy said, is that in many cases, the community will always defend the harasser against allegations of a woman who was harassed.
She added that in some cases where women report harassment, they are told not to “get caught up in a scandal” because “shame will be on you.”
“And if the victim is Christian or does not wear a hijab you hear: ‘You have to be decent and cover up your body,'” Magdy stated.
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Source: Christian Post