In confronting rape, we are taught to appeal to the law, to the police, to anyone who can offer protection. What if the only way to prevent a rape were to intervene yourself?
This issue, Lux is publishing a chapter of Radius, a new book by Yasmin El-Rifae, which tells the story of Opantish — Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment — a group that she and other women organized to intervene in mass sexual assaults that occurred in Tahrir Square in Cairo during the 2013 phase of the Egyptian revolution. (In this period, protesters fought with the Muslim Brotherhood’s government, which would ultimately fall to a military coup.) The scale of sexual violence was like nothing the activists had seen before and, in the face of it, they built a guerilla strategy for extracting women from mobs.