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A journalist from the Netherlands has been raped by a group of men while covering the uprisings in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the same location where CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and beaten by protesters in 2011, shortly after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.
The attack was confirmed by the Dutch embassy in Cairo, who issued a statement reading, “A Dutch woman of 22 was attacked in Tahrir Square on Friday evening. The Netherlands Embassy has assisted the victim, and after receiving emergency treatment in a Cairo hospital she was repatriated to the Netherlands in the company of family. The victim has cooperated with an investigation started by the Egyptian authorities. In the interest of the privacy of the victim, no further information will be given.”
The chaotic moments leading up to the attack were reportedly captured in a video currently posted online [warning: graphic content], in which a blond woman is seen being overpowered by a swarm of male protesters. Millions had gathered in the public space to demand the removal of Mohamed Morsi as Egypt’s president.
News of the violent sexual assault that followed was first reported by Dina Zakaria, a journalist for Egypt 25 news channel. Writing on her Facebook page, Zakaria said that the woman “was raped by men who dub themselves revolutionists” and that her “condition is severe and she is hospitalized.”
Logan broke her silence about her life-threatening sexual assault in May 2011, telling CBS’ 60 Minutes, “Before I even knew what was happening, I feel hands grabbing my breasts, grabbing my crotch, grabbing me from behind. It’s not one person and it stops — it’s one person and another person and another person. I’m screaming, thinking if they hear me scream, they’ll stop. … And it was the opposite. The more I screamed, the more it turned them into a frenzy.”
After one protester shouted that Logan was an Israeli (she isn’t), Logan felt her clothes being literally torn off her body. Cell phone camera flashes went off as the frenzied crowd took photos of her naked body. “I didn’t even know they were beating me with flags and sticks because the sexual assault was all I could feel,” Logan said. “I thought, ‘I’m going to die here.'”
A group of female protesters ultimately closed ranks around Logan, holding back the mob until soldiers could carry her to safety. She spent four days recovering in a hospital before returning to the U.S.
“Sexual violence is a way of denying women journalists access to the story in Egypt,” Logan told the New York Daily News after her assault. “It’s not accidental. It’s by design.”
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