Rape and the Arab Spring: The Dark Side of the Popular Uprisings in the Middle East

Dec. 27, 2011, 4:28 p.m.

The Center for American Progress published a report on rape during the Arab Spring. The report outlines the use of sexaul violence for political reasons during the revolutions in Egpyt, Yemen, and Libya. The report suggests that governments in the region and the United States make protections against such violence central to security efforts. More information can be found here.

Despite the prominent role played by women in organizing the popular movements  that have overthrown and challenged authoritarian regimes across the region, the early results on the treatment of women in three key countries—Egypt, Yemen, and Libya—raise serious concerns about the future of democracy and human rights in the Middle East as the region experiences tectonic political change.

As momentous as these changes are, they are occurring within a social context that has made sexual violence against women a powerful instrument of political repression. In many cases sexual violence against women is a desperate reaction of the powerful elite groups linked to authoritarian leaders and dictators who are rapidly losing power and relevance.

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