How many sexual abuse incidents became cases of public opinions this year only? So many. How many mass sexual harassment incidents happened in our streets? We have at least one incident per season.
Every time we scream and shout and beg for a change, but what changes? Nothing. We end up with the same incidents or even worse.
The Latest Sexual Harassment Incident:
On Sunday, 13th of December, a girl in Mit Ghamr was violated by a herd of men who tried to undress and touch her body, her name is Bassant, and we want justice for her.
No one who was witnessing the incident tried to save Bassant or stop the harassers.
They just watched, and some of them raised their phones to take photos and videos.
“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their silence at times of crisis.”
What kind of corrupted moral code can drive a herd of people to witness such a morbid crime and stay still to watch?
It’s a very horrifying question implying that our society has got a disease. We live in a very patriarchy community, and most of our men are so intoxicated with their masculinity.
Who created this herd of sex offenders and silent witnesses?
It’s every mother who raised her daughter to serve her brother. It’s every father who taught her son to dominate and bully his sisters and celebrated his bully child.
Every preacher who convinced his diocese that every man is in control of “his women” and their personal choices are of little importance.
It’s the society that obsesses over sex like a teenage kid and looks to women as nothing but a sexual object.
When you gather these pieces together, you can understand what happened in Mit Ghamr this Sunday.
The arrested guys’ lawyer in a live video on his social media threatening Bassant
أستاذ هاني عبادة المحامي (اللي بيدافع عن المتهمين بالتحرش في قضية ميت غمر) طالع لايف على فيسبوك عشان يبتز البنت بصورها بشكل مباشر!!!
وماسك فيديو بيقول فيه "الفيديو ده مش مع حد"! و"ارجعي للنيابة عشان انتي واحده على طريق وبتسافري"!! تهديدات صريحة.
— Speak Up (@SpeakUp_00) December 15, 2020
In this video which was received as direct threats to Bassant by so many people including Bassant herself. The lawyer asks the victim to reconsider her accusations as she commutes to her school every day. And he refers to her pictures on her private Instagram telling her that it can go viral and be reported.
These clear threats are not just unprofessional, it’s criminal, and the Egyptian bar association needs to take any action against this twisted lawyer as soon as possible.
The public prosecutor statement on Bassant incident
The public prosecutor stated on an official social media statement that seven guys got arrested after being watched harassing the victim on the street cameras footages.
And that the police are noticing the threats and misleading information going around social media.
Bassant breaks down on phone call with Lamis El-Hadidi.
In this phone call with Lamis El-Hadidi, Bassant breaks down and bursts in tears as she tries to describe the awful incident.
She expresses her fear of the death and acid attacks threats and repeatedly asks for support and protection.
Lamis was, surprisingly, very empathetic and supportive. She calmed Bassant down and encouraged her to go all the way to get justice from her harassers. She even called for the public prosecutor and asked him to interfere in support of Bassant.
This strong gesture from Lamis is the kind of attitude we have been waiting from Egyptian media since forever.
Anti #SupportBassant hashtag to support the harassers
A lot of tweets came to support Bassant, but on the other side, a lot of tweets came with an anti hashtag to attack her. #WastedYouthInMitGhamrBecasueOfARecklessGirl
Most of the tweets came with this hashtag blaming Bassant for what happened.
احنا مش بنقول متحرش احنا بنقول اقبضوا عل متحرشين الحقيقين دول مظلومين ومفيش فيديوا واحد يدنهم وازاي نيابه الساعه6ص من غير ميحضر محامي أو شهود أو يشوفوا ادله فيديوهات او صور بعد اذنكو يجدعان عاوزين نكبر الهشتاج دا عشان ولادنا و اخوتنا??#شباب_بيضيع_فى_ميت_غمر_بسبب_بنت_طائشة
— Hosni Elfawal(بشمهندس وبشمبرمج)??? (@ElfawalHosni) December 15, 2020
What’s going on here?
Egyptians are, as usual, divided into three teams, one is supporting Bassant, one is attacking and blaming her clothing. And the third team staying on a middle ground and claiming that both parties of this incident should be condemned and punished for what happened.
We can’t even discuss the victim clothing in anyhow here. It is unacceptable to consider a woman’s appearance choice as an invitation or an explanation of a sexual abuse crime. Those who are blaming Bassant’s appearance choices are living in the dark ages, and we can only ask God to guide them out of their darkness.
Those who defend the arrested ones claiming that they didn’t do anything other than standing there witnessing the crime, we want to ask them; what kind of moral code do they have, those who witness such a horrible crime and do nothing?
If the arrested guys didn’t do anything, then there are camera footages with the police, and it can tell who did what and when, So the innocence or guilt of the arrested ones is in the hands of the police and Bassant has got nothing to do with it.
Imagine being surrounded by more than 300 hundred men trying to undress and touch your body, would you be able to tell who is just watching you being violated from those who are violating you? So why are we expecting Bassant to count down names?
The question we need to ask ourselves here is why women are still afraid of reporting the sexual abuse they are facing everywhere in Egypt.
Our society has got a twisted way to blame the victim of sexual abuse.
No matter what happened or how horrifying the crime was, we have got away to whitewash the sexual offender side. And women are either afraid of getting the blame so they prefer to go silent or they are convinced that they are the ones to blame for every sexual abuse they receive.
Living with such guilt is a very heavyweight to walk around with.
What can we do to encourage women to come out?
We can support them, tell them that it’s brave to come out and that’s they are saved.
We have got to prove to women that once they come out, they will find loads of support, and their abusers are going to receive their deserved punishment.
We need to raise awareness and restructure women’s mentality to convince them that their abusers are the criminals, and they have got nothing to do with what happened. Not your cloth, not your gestures, not your relationship with the abuser or anything else will be received as an explanation for sexual abuse.
We need to educate ourselves, women and men, the meaning of sexual consent and that a verbal yes is required and any form of No is a sharp and apparent rejection of any sexual action.