Iraq: Call for an End to Sexual Assault of Women Protesters


We, feminist activists from around the world, stand in support of our sisters and brothers peacefully demonstrating for basic rights in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. On June 10, demonstrators were brutally targeted with sexual violence and beatings by men who were reportedly bussed in by the thousands to disrupt the weekly protest. Protesters suffered broken bones, knife wounds and beatings. Several women were severely beaten and violently groped; armed attackers attempted to forcibly strip off the women’s clothing. The activists, who work with the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, report that their attackers were organized and paid by government security forces who used the un-uniformed men to avoid accountability for the violence.  

As feminists, we strongly condemn assaults against peaceful protesters and the specifically gender-based violence against women. As in so many of our countries, the use of sexual violence against Iraqi women is designed to terrorize, shame and silence those women who dare to exercise their fundamental rights as citizens and raise political demands in the public sphere.  We stand with our sisters who exercise their rights to political participation and dissent.

Today’s attacks represent a noted escalation of violence against protesters in Iraq as well as a crime and a fundamental violation of human rights. We call on the government to uphold its obligations to guarantee freedom of peaceful assembly and to respond to the demands of demonstrators.





International Solidarity Network – Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)

Leicester Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

The Network Against Honour Related Violence, Sweden

United Methodist Women

The Women and Media Collective, Sri Lanka

Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC)

The Women's Support Group, Sri Lanka

World March of Women 

Individuals Representing Organizations

Christine Ahn, Global Fund for Women, USA

Maha Abu-Dayyeh Shamas, Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling, Palestine

Sally Alhak, EWU - Egyptian Women's Union, Egypt

Lydia Alpízar Durán, Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), Canada

Ghida Anani, ABAAD-Resource Center for Gender Equality, Lebanon

Soad Baba Aissa, IFE France, France

Radhika Balakrishnan, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, USA

Aouicha Bekhti, Party for Laicity and Democracy in Algeria

Fewzi Benhabib, Party for Laicity and Democracy in Algeria

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK: Women for Peace

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, femLINKPACIFIC

Betty Blake, Ma'afafine moe Famili, Tonga

Shahnaz Bokhari, Progressive Women's Association-PWA, Pakistan

Maria Butler, PeaceWomen, A project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, USA

Adilia Caravaca, Liga Internacional de Mujeres pro Paz y Libertad, Seccion Costa Rica

Moulay Chentouf, Party for Laicity and Democracy in Algeria

Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, Zimbabwe Election Support Network & Zimbabwe Peace Project, Zimbabwe

Sarah El Jabri, OISC

Patricia Guerrero, Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas, Observatory for Gender, Democracy and Human Rights, Colombia

Isabelle Geuskens, IFOR-Women Peacemakers Program, Netherlands/International

Helen Hakena, Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency

Lillian Halls, European Feminist Initiative (IFE-EFI), France

Cristina Hardaga, Tlalchinollan Human Rights Center of the Mountain of Guerrero, Mexico

Taida Horozovic, CURE Foundation, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Lindora Howard-Diawara, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP-Liberia), Liberia

Hisako Motoyama, Asia Japan Women’s Resource Center, Japan

Jasmin Nario-Galace, Center for Peace Education, Philippines

Sameena Nazir Potohar, Organization for Development Advocacy, Pakistan

Juliet Were Oguttu, Isis-WICCE, Uganda/International

Pat Pleasance, UK WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom), UK

Yifat Susskind, MADRE, International

Andrea Smith, Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, USA

Josephine Teakeni, Vois Blong Mere Solomons

Albin Wagener, OISC


Sunila Abeysekera, Sri Lanka

Kirsten Ainley, UK

Brian Heilman, USA

Krista Hoffman

Lib Hutchby, USA

Huda Jafar, Yemen

Dr. Helen Liebling, Lecturer-Practitioner in Clinical Psychology, Coventry University and Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust

Amina Mama, USA

Sarah Masters, UK

Marti McKenna, USA

Lorraine Mirham, UK

Monica Murray

Layla Naffa Hamarneh, Jordan

Zaynab Nawaz, USA

Rosalind Petchesky, USA

Bonnie Pirnie, USA

Brooke Prim

Swathi Rajan, USA

Viti Tuimabualau-Lilo, SUVA, FIJI

Amanda Weibel, Switzerland

Sarah Weirich, USA

Laura Williscraft, USA

Posted on: Friday, June 10, 2011