Amina Tyler Poster

Topless Tunisian Protester Tells Story of Abduction, Drugging and Forced Virginity Test

The Tunisian teenager whose topless Facebook photos inspired a viral online protest in support of women’s rights is in hiding after she says she was kidnapped and beaten — even subjected to a virginity test — by members of her own family.

Rumors that her life was in danger circulated shortly after 19-year old Amina Tyler first posted the pictures last month. One Tunisian cleric reportedly called for her death by stoning. Another report said she had been committed to a mental asylum.

Monday, she told her story in full for the first time in a Skype interview with the Femen topless protest group that has been posted on YouTube.

In the interview with Inna Shevchenko, the founder of Femen, Tyler says that after posting the controversial photos she was grabbed by two men she identified as her cousins while sitting at a cafe in Tunis. They allegedly forced her into a car and drove her to her aunt’s house, where they beat her.

Next, the two men tried to take her to a psychotherapist — when one was not available, they drove to her grandmother’s house. There in the kitchen, Tyler says that “two old women of my family took me to see if I was still a virgin or not….that was horrible.”

She was kept there for days, taught “moral” lessons, taken to visit Imams and forced to read the Koran, she claims in the video. “I am an atheist,” she says.

When she was later taken to a village outside Tunis and held there for two weeks, Tyler says she was given strong doses of a medicine that made her sleepy and calm. She tried to run away but she says she was caught and told to “stop doing this to our family”.

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It is not clear how she ultimately escaped, but she says she is no longer at her family home and is not in Tunis.

In the interview, she says that her family is looking for her. In an interview with Agence France Presse, her mother says the same thing: “‘My daughter left the house on Friday and we don’t know where she is,’ the mother of the young woman, who goes by the name of Amina Tyler, said. ‘I fear for my daughter, who has been receiving psychiatric treatment for six years.’”

 

Tyler says she does not regret posting the pictures and says she is planning another topless protest: “Because I will continue the struggle that I started in Tunisia…and then I will leave,” she says in the interview.

Vocativ first reported on Tyler’s topless protest last month.  In the one photo at the top of the story, she is smoking a cigarette and has written in Arabic across her chest, “My body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honor.” Scores of people posted their own topless photographs in solidarity with her.

Here is video of the interview with Shevchenko:

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  • What a fucking shame!!! Smoking woman…. I hate cigarretssssssssssss.

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