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Natasha Smith, multimedia journalist and associate editor of the Fair Observer's Middle East team, took to her blog to recount her attack and sexual assault in Tahrir Square.
Journalist Natasha Smith took to her blog today to recount her attack and sexual assault in Tahrir Square.
The multimedia journalist and associate editor of the Fair Observer's Middle East team was in Egypt to film a documentary about "women's rights and abuses against women in Egypt since the revolution," according to her website.
She tells the details of being in Tahrir Square with her friend Callum and others after the presidential election winner was announced and of being "so happy to be in such a wonderful environment."
But things quickly turned, as she realized the crowd was becoming thicker and she tried to turn away from the square. Then, she said, "in a split second, everything changed." Her friend tried to keep hold of her, but Smith said there were hundreds of men dragging her away as she kicked and screamed.
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Hunched over in an attempt to protect her camera, Smith was stripped of her camera, her rucksack, and then her clothes. She then recounts the details of how the men groped her, "scratching and clenching my breasts and forcing their fingers inside me in every possible way."
"I shouted 'Salam! Salam! Allah! Allah!.' In my desperate state I also shouted 'ma'is salaama!' which actually means 'goodbye' — just about the worst possible thing to say to a horde of men trying to ruin me. I might as well have yelled 'Goodbye cruel world! Down I go!'" she wrote on her blog.
Smith doesn't forget to mention the men in the square who tried to protect her, but they were far fewer than those trying to do her harm.
When one of the men picked up a tent pole in an attempt to hit her with it, Smith began to say aloud to herself, "Please God. Please make it stop. Please God. Please make it stop."
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After a lot of begging and pleading, Smith's friend Callum managed to get her to relative safety in a medical tent. Muslim women tried to cover her body for her as she passed out, and later told her that "the attack was motivated by rumours spread by trouble-making thugs that I was a foreign spy, following a national advertising campaign warning of the dangers of foreigners."
She wrote that "women were crying and telling me 'this is not Egypt! This is not Islam! Please, please do not think this is what Egypt is!'" as she reassured them that she knew what they were saying was true.
Smith then goes into the details of the aftermath of her attack, both directly after the assault and days later. To read her full account of what happened to her in Tahrir Square, visit Smith's blog.