As far as activists are aware, no one has been arrested or even charged in connection with these gang assaults.
In recent days, Muslim Brotherhood members have contrasted the lack of sexual harassment at their pro-Morsy protests with the assaults in Tahrir. They have a point. But at the Brotherhood protests, there were far fewer women present overall. And activists respond that there were many mob assaults documented during the jubilation in Tahrir Square when Morsy took office a year ago.
Moreover, on the question of women's rights, the relative absence of sexual assault at Brotherhood protests is about the only thing one can say for the Brotherhood just now. Former President Morsy's government fumbled at every turn. As recently as June 30, the Ministry of Health shared a survivor's name, hospital, and details of the assault with the newspaper of the Freedom and Justice Party (the Muslim Brotherhood's political party) while also citing instances of sexual assault in the square in an attempt to delegitimize the protesters there. In March, they opposed a document on violence against women issued by the United Nations, and they consistently refer to female genital mutilation, a widespread practice in Egypt, as a sanctioned cultural practice.
General Adel Afifi, a member of a Salafi party allied with the Brotherhood who serves on the Shura Council's human rights committee, in a statement that has now become legend among the activist community, declared: "Girls who join [the protests] do so knowing they are in the middle of thugs and street types. She must protect herself before asking the Ministry of Interior to do so. Sometimes a girl contributes 100 percent to her rape because she puts herself in those circumstances."
Given comments like this and, more broadly, the risks each woman takes consciously when she enters the square, it says something about the strength of women's conviction of their right to participate fully in public discourse and political life that they keep showing up.
The women at the protests are of all religious and political persuasions. On June 30, I met Amani Sayed, 43, who wore a full face veil. Her gripe with the Brotherhood? That they had divided Egyptians from one another -- Muslim from Christian, liberal from conservative.
Huwaida Ibrahim, a 34-year-old international football referee who does not wear a hijab, emphasized the role of women in the economy, saying, "If women don't go to work, half of the country will stop." That was why she was there -- to protest the horrendous economic conditions under the Brotherhood.
Fatima Mustapha, a 35-year-old Cairene housewife said she had supported Morsy until he made such a mess and "spilled the blood of our youth." She said that when it came to women's participation in politics, "lack of knowledge" was the problem, "I want women in the People's Assembly, on the Shura Council, in the cabinet, in the judiciary" she said. "But it won't be people like me. It will be particular people [of a particular social class or educational background], ... but we all want to be able to try."
This morning, there was a military air show over Tahrir, a last hurrah of the protests and a message to the masses: Show's over, go home. At Tahrir around midday there was a small stage set up on one side of the square with music and a crowd of a few hundred people. There was a women's section in the middle cordoned off from the men with a large space around them, patrolled by women in yellow vests. A cruel joke given the violence of the night before.