1. What kind of practice is this?
The Arabic gang-rape ‘Taharrush’ phenomenon which sees women surrounded by groups of men in crowds and sexually assaulted is a barbaric practice. Read on to know more
2. What is taharrush?
The Arabic term ‘taharrush’ roughly translates to ‘collective harassment’.
3. Sexual assault
It refers to sexual assaults carried out by groups of men in public places.
4. Raped and groped
Surrounded by dozens of attackers, lone women are groped or raped.
5. Started in 2011
The phenomenon was first seen in 2011 when a reporter was attacked.
6. Who was attacked?
Lara Logan endured an assault while reporting on the protests in Egypt.
7. The first instance in Europe
Police say attacks in Cologne (in Germany) marked Europe’s first instance of taharrush.
8. Finding its way
Post this incident, police fear that such a practise will now spread to the whole of Europe.
9. How does it happen?
The name of the practice translates to ‘collective harassment’ and is carried out by large groups of men who sexually assault lone women, either by groping, or in some instances, raping them.
10. A heinous act
The men first surround their victim in circles. Some then sexually assault her, while others not directly involved, watch or divert outsiders’ attention to what is occurring.
11. Onlookers in the grip
CBS reporter Lara Logan says that sometimes onlookers too are pulled over and raped.
12. Goes unpunished
And the attack usually goes unpunished because the large number of perpetrators and chaos of the attack means authorities are unable to identify those involved.
13. What defines taharrush?
There remains a debate about what defines ‘taharrush’ – some still insist it is a reference to flirting – though scholars argue its definition changed after the attacks seen in Egypt from 2011 onwards.
14. Started in Cologne
German authorities have stated this was the phenomenon seen in Cologne city centre on New Year, when hundreds of women reported they were sexually assaulted.
15. Where is it carried out?
The practice is only carried out in public and almost always at demonstrations or large public gatherings where the attackers find safety in numbers and disorder.
16. Where was she attacked?
South African reporter Lara Logan was set upon by a large group of men while reporting on celebrations in Tahrir Square, Egypt, in 2011.
17. Recounting the horror
Logan recounted her ordeal in Egypt several months later on a 60 Minutes broadcast, describing how the baying crowd ‘raped me with their hands’.
18. Terrifying details
The 44-year-old revealed terrifying details of the 40 minute-long February attack in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, including how she became separated from members of her crew after someone in the frenzied 200-strong crowd shouted ‘Let’s take her pants off.’
19. In her own words
She said: ‘Suddenly, before I even know what’s happening, I feel hands grabbing my breasts, grabbing my crotch, grabbing me from behind. I mean, and it’s not one person and then it stops, it’s like one person and another person and another person.
20. Helpless colleagues
‘And I know Ray (her colleague) is right there, and he’s grabbing at me and screaming, “Lara hold onto me, hold onto me”.’
21. Why does it occur?
Experts say the attacks reflect a misogynist ideology that blames women for leaving the house, seeks to terrorize them out of public life, and views sexual violence as a source of shame for the victim, not the attacker.