Last week, the ruling military council and a coalition of opposition and protest groups reached an agreement to share power for a transition period until elections can be held. Following the agreement, the streets of Sudan erupted in celebrations.
Women who have been involved in Sudan’s campaign for democracy allege widespread attacks, beatings and sexual assaults at the hands of authorities. Local activists claim soldiers have even displayed women‘s underwear on poles to humiliate the women they sexually assaulted.
“The regime always uses women as a tool to take revenge and to force its enemies to surrender. That’s why the issue of women is directly linked to the dignity of society. In many instances, the regime tries to force society into surrender by humiliating women. The regime knows that when women are humiliated, society is humiliated,” she explains.
“We were a group of girls, we were beaten. I was the one beaten the most because I was wearing trousers. I was shot here at first (pointing to arm injury) and they still continued beating me. They were swearing with the worst words in the world, I can’t mention any of those. Four of them gathered around me and continued beating me and insisted that I run.”
In Sudan, 87% of girls and women have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and one in three are married before their 18th birthday. The pivotal position that women have taken on in the protests could be said to have become a symbol of the driving force for change in Sudan.