A 15-YEAR-OLD girl is being charged with murder after stabbing her alleged rapist to death.
In July, the teen made headlines after she confessed to cops that she knifed a bus driver to death who she claimed had kidnapped her in a deserted rural area near Cairo and tried to force himself on her.
The girl said she tricked her alleged assailant, snatched his knife, and stabbed him several times before running away.
Shortly after her arrest, the teen was ordered to take a virginity test, an invasive procedure that human rights groups say itself amounts to sexual assault.
Several women’s rights groups have offered legal assistance, arguing for leniency because the teen was defending herself against sexual attack.
They hope a judge’s ruling in her favour could set an important legal precedent and help challenge the “deep-seated misogynistic culture” of blaming female victims rather than male attackers.
Intissar Saeed, president of the Cairo Foundation for Law and Development said: “This case reveals the dualism in Egyptian society.
“I myself have sympathised with her since day one. But when I wrote about her on my Facebook page some male lawyers attacked the girl on my page saying she was not a decent woman.”
The teen’s name was widely published in the Egyptian media but The Sun does not identify individuals who say they have been sexually assaulted without express consent.
During a police interrogation, the girl said she had been on a date with her boyfriend before riding the bus.
This statement could easily undermine her reputation and probably her credibility in conservative Islamic society, where dating is frowned upon.
Her boyfriend and a friend of his are in custody pending investigations into any potential links to the crime.
After her detention, the girl was required to undergo a vaginal test which determined she was a virgin which in the Egyptian context could be viewed as helpful to her case.
Saeed explains that this test is a routine legal procedure whenever a woman reports a rape or alleged rape. Yet, she finds it irrelevant in this case.
Feminists have been campaigning for the girl’s release and calling for her to face a lesser charge than murder.
But, last month, the investigating judge upheld an appeal by the prosecutor against an earlier court decision to release her and ordered her detained for another 30 days.
Mozn Hassan, founder of Nazra for Feminist Studies said: “If she is not divorced, married or widowed and turned out not to be a virgin, she gets automatically labelled as indecent and deserving what she had gone through.
“The man is always presumed innocent. Yet, it is very logical in a country where more than 95 percent of women are sexually harassed, that we should start off by believing what the woman is saying.”
Sexual harassment, mostly ranging from catcalls to occasional pinching or grabbing, is rampant in Egypt.
Polls have found that most men and women in the conservative Muslim country believe it is justified if women dress “provocatively” in public.
Surveys indicate that a vast majority of Egyptian women feel insecure in the streets.
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The teen’s lawyers hope she will be charged with a so-called honour killing rather than murder.
Honour killings traditionally are acts of vengeance committed by male family members against female family members deemed to have brought dishonour upon the family.
But the girl’s attorneys believe the concept could be applied in her case.
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