How do anti-sexual violence groups form and sustain their activism under autocratic regimes? Using the case of the anti-sexual violence groups that emerged online in Egypt in 2020, I investigate the role of emotions in sustaining the movement in the absence of political opportunities, organizational resources, and frame resonance. Drawing from the literature on emotions and social movements, I apply an analytical framework consisting of three concepts, emotion work, emotional opportunities, and emotional transformation. I show how the emotional work carried out by the online groups, and the emotional opportunities inherited from former movements have played a role in mobilizing survivors of sexual violence and transforming the emotional culture around the issue. The data were collected by carrying out interviews with founders and followers of key online accounts supplemented by a review of the groups’ online posts and the public prosecutors’ statements. The article adds to the existing literature on social movements by demonstrating the mechanisms through which emotions matter and affect movements.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.