Bruised but defiant: Mona Eltahawy on her assault by Egyptian security forces

'Our dictators tailor wounds to suit their victims’ occupations,' she says.

My phone fell as the four or five riot policemen beat me and then  started to drag me towards no man’s land. “My phone, I have to get my  phone,” I said, and reached down to try to retrieve it. It wasn’t the  Twitterholic in me that threw herself after the phone, but the survivor.  For the first three or four hours of detention, I knew they could do  anything and no one would know. In the event, it was near-miraculous  that, while I was at the ministry, an activist with a smartphone came to  discuss setting up a truce between protesters and security. As soon as  he signed me in to Twitter, I sent out, “beaten arrested at interior  ministry”. And then his phone battery died.
But the hands on my breasts, in between my legs and inside my trousers – that,  I know, happened to me. Sometimes I think of them as ravens plucking at  my body. Calling me a whore. Pulling my hair. All the while beating me.  At one point I fell. Eye-level with their boots, all I thought was:  “Get up or you will die.”

Bruised but defiant: Mona Eltahawy on her assault by Egyptian security forces

'Our dictators tailor wounds to suit their victims’ occupations,' she says.

My phone fell as the four or five riot policemen beat me and then started to drag me towards no man’s land. “My phone, I have to get my phone,” I said, and reached down to try to retrieve it. It wasn’t the Twitterholic in me that threw herself after the phone, but the survivor. For the first three or four hours of detention, I knew they could do anything and no one would know. In the event, it was near-miraculous that, while I was at the ministry, an activist with a smartphone came to discuss setting up a truce between protesters and security. As soon as he signed me in to Twitter, I sent out, “beaten arrested at interior ministry”. And then his phone battery died.

But the hands on my breasts, in between my legs and inside my trousers – that, I know, happened to me. Sometimes I think of them as ravens plucking at my body. Calling me a whore. Pulling my hair. All the while beating me. At one point I fell. Eye-level with their boots, all I thought was: “Get up or you will die.”

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