If you live in Egypt you've probably heard about the sexual harassment/rape case that's been in the news this past week. If you don't know, the trash in question is Ahmed Bassem Zaki, and I will not be posting his smug, ugly mug on my blog. About a week or so ago, girls started sharing their stories about this predator on social media. The number of victims grew to over 100 girls. The stories ranged from harassment, to assault, to threats to rape. This human garbage preyed on girls as young as 14, boys, and women in Egypt and in Spain.
Naturally, this story has had people talking and it's everywhere, TV shows, social media, and news magazines. I knew that many people here in Egypt have old fashioned views and ideas but the sheer amount of victim-blaming I read online was sickening. It's disgusting. NO, it doesn't matter what she wore. NO, it doesn't matter why she was there. NOTHING matters except the lack of consent. Full stop. It should go without saying. When you say "he's at fault, of course, but, she shouldn't have been there"
You are excusing his behavior and shifting the blame to the girl. The girls in this case are without blame. They were strong to speak out and paved the way for him to be arrested. As of today, laws have been changed to increase the protection of sexual assault victims' identities.
A major reason why coming forward is so hard for women to do is fear. Fear of not being believed, fear of retaliation, fear of "disgracing their family". We need to stand behind victims and support them in order to achieve justice. ABZ is not the first, last, or only rapist/harasser in Egypt. There are so many more and if they make an example of him, it could set a precedent that will have a huge impact on how sexual harassment is viewed in this country. Already people are starting to have the conversation. Maybe a guy might think twice before groping a girl or texting an unsolicited photo.
It's no secret that sexual harassment is a huge issue in Egypt. I doubt highly that there's a single female in Egypt that hasn't been harassed. It's, unfortunately, a daily thing. We, as a society, need to work together to fight it. Speak out against it. Especially men. Men who sit silently while their friends harass girls like it's a pastime need to say, "Hey, that's not cool." Not only out of fear of being outed but out of decency! A girl or woman doesn't have to be framed as someone's mom or sister to be worthy of not being looked at as an object.
Until now, ABZ has confessed to charges of blackmail and intimidation. This is only because there's actual evidence of this and it might be part of a deal, but more girls are bravely coming forward, and I have hope that justice will be served. You can't just use and abuse people for years and get away with it. You just can't.
To know more about this case and how to help, visit Assault Police on Instagram.