Can Someone Remind Amani Elkhayat that Rape is a Big Deal?

Egyptians were mortified last week when news surfaced about the two police officers charged with the rape of a girl in the back of a police patrol car. The seminal fluid found on the girl’s clothing matched that of the low ranking policemen. It seemed like a tight case. And that is why we were all even more mortified to find out that the men were released on a 1000LE bail!

Since when do sexual predators get released on bail? Especially one so small?

Outraged by this news was famous TV presenter Amani El Khayat. Amani, who has been enjoying yelling her political views at viewers uninterrupted for years now, was furious. Her anger was not sparked by the fact that two men whose job is to serve and protect raped a woman (in the car they should be using to serve and to protect). It wasn’t even sparked by the fact that they were released on such a small bail. It was, in fact, sparked by how everyone seemed to be “overreacting” to the incident.

Yes! Amani seemed positive that this is some kind of ploy to defame the MOI. Saying that there are those that will use low ranking officers and having them “commit foolishness” to give the police, as a whole, a bad name. Furthermore, she stressed on how this is a crime that is committed by people in all sectors. Her exact wording was:

“This is something that happens in all sectors. It’s the nature of… A society of 90 million!”

Let us try to decipher Amani’s rant. She seems to be trying to communicate to us that since Egypt has such a horrifyingly strong rape culture, we shouldn’t be taking the incident that badly. From her point of view, the media has been – to quote Amani herself – “blowing it out of proportion”.

For a woman, Amani seems bafflingly lax about the rape of another woman. Amani is a media figure who, instead of spreading awareness about women and human rights, has seen that defending the Ministry of Interior to be a more important cause than talking about a heinous crime. Amani, and many others like her, are one of the biggest reasons women are harassed and raped, because the criminals who choose to force themselves on women know that there will be other women who will say things are “blown out of proportion” when the public speaks up.

Rape culture really is prevalent in Egypt, but this is not a reason for us to just accept it. This is a catastrophe, a reminder to all of us that we have failed as a society. And the fact that someone can use rape culture as an excuse to make light of a rape incident is terrifying.

Amani’s less than 2 minute rant about this particular rape incident is one of the biggest setbacks for feminism and human rights in 2015.



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