Woman is free"" at a highway in Cairo, Egypt. File picture: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
Woman is free"" at a highway in Cairo, Egypt. File picture: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Women in Egypt use social media to expose sexual abusers

By African News Agency Time of article published Aug 14, 2020

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Cape Town - Egyptian women have taken to social media to shame alleged abusers and demand change as a wave of online protests against rape culture and sexual abuse sweeps across the country.

According to a report by the Guardian, a growing number of social media accounts have been gathering survivors’ testimony and attempting to shame their alleged attackers who they say routinely go unpunished, particularly members of the social elite.

While victims have gathered the courage to expose their alleged abusers in recent weeks, campaigners and feminist activists say Egyptian law provides limited recourse on matters of sexual assault and harassment, with survivors often facing an uphill struggle in reporting such experiences while also risking negative social consequences.

But even as activists claim that the wheels of justice turn slowly with regard to gender based violence, in July Egypt's public prosecutor's office ordered the pre-trial detention of a man whose alleged sexual crimes against women and minors were exposed in an online campaign.

According to the Middle East Eye, the prosecutor's office said in a statement the accused had confessed to six complaints against him including the alleged attempted rape of a minor and sexual blackmail.

Local media however quoted Egypt's National Council for Women as saying that several victims who reached out to authorities recounted that those accused had "blackmailed and threatened to defame them using photos and clips documenting (the) heinous crimes".

In July, details of testimonies about a gang rape that allegedly occurred in a hotel room at the Fairmont Nile City Hotel in Cairo in 2014 started circulating on social media, along with demands to arrest the suspects, all of whom belong to wealthy and influential families, online news publication Egypt Independent reported.

The news outlet said cabinet had recently approved a draft law submitted by the justice ministry which aims to ensure the confidentiality of information on the victims of sexual harassment and assault.

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