June 28th, 2012

British female reporter attacked in Tahrir Square speaks to CNN

Amid the celebrations in Egypt with the declaration of the country’s first freely elected president, British student journalist Natasha Smith was sexually assaulted by a mob in Tahrir Square.

In her first TV interview since the attack, Smith talks to CNN about her experience.  Please see below excerpts from the interview.

**CNN International must be credited for any use of this material.**

Smith: “Men started ripping off all my clothes. First of all, it was my skirt, and that just went straight away, and I didn’t even feel my underwear being removed. Then my shoes went and clothes on my upper half were just being ripped off me, and that was quite painful.”

Smith: “I was just in this weird, detached state of mind, and I just kept saying, ‘Please God, please make it stop. Please, God, make it stop.’ ”

Smith: “If there hadn’t been a small group of men around me, I would have been raped and killed. That’s just without question, because that’s what the men were trying to do. It was very clear what they were trying to do to me. They weren’t just trying to play around with me, they were gunning for me for whatever reason.”

Smith: “Arab women, Muslim women were all around me, just crying, saying ‘This is not Egypt! This is not Egypt! This is not Islam! These are thugs!’ (She said she responded) ‘I know, I love Egypt, I know this is not Island, it’s OK.’ And they were stunned, ‘cause they thought I was going to be so full of hate and so full of fear. But from the very beginning, I don’t blame Egypt for this. This is not the workings of the Egyptian people. This is not representative.”

Smith: “There’s been all this fuss because I’m British and I’m young and I’m a girl, but this is happening elsewhere to women constantly, and we don’t hear about that, we don’t hear the stories of Egyptian women or African women or women across the world who will often suffer these attacks and worse attacks and there’ll be no justice done.”

Smith: “There’s been an outpouring of support, and I’m so grateful for that…I’ll be so happy if this could make any difference to other women who are in this situation, not just in Egypt, not just in the Middle East, but everywhere.”