During the past few weeks, Egypt has been swept up into a women’s revolution so fierce it is showing no intention of slowing down anytime soon. One could call it the Egyptian #MeToo movement, but what happened was far more organic than mere repetition. It all started with the now infamous Ahmed Bassam Zaki, and the testimonials which started surfacing on the internet. The horrific stories claimed that Zaki raped, assaulted, harassed and blackmailed many young girls.
It became painfully evident even to those who were still in denial that Egypt has a serious problem. An infestation of criminals who will either harass, or justify harassment by any means
After his story surfaced, though, more women came forward with equally horrifying stories involving other men. It became painfully evident even to those who were still in denial that Egypt has a serious problem. An infestation of criminals who will either harass, or justify harassment by any means.
These stories caught the attention of many Egyptians. One of whom was Sabah Khodeir, whose account on Instagram followed the Zaki story from the beginning. Sabah provided all the information she knew, and published testimonials which were sent her way from survivors. She continues to spread awareness and speak up as the movement gains even more momentum.
Another Instagram account that soon became an essential resource, especially in building the case against Zaki is @ Assault Police. The account receives, and publishes, testimonials from assault and harassment survivors. The account is a great resource for survivors, as well as those looking to educate themselves on the topic. Unfortunately, it has shut down after being allegedly threatened by men accused of rape.
For survivors looking for help in the mental health or legal departments, a Facebook group called Abuse Relief Aide was created by our Founder May Abdel Asim in collaboration with Sara Aziz, Founder of Safe Kids. The group receives testimonials anonymously and helps connect the survivors with lawyers and/or therapists who can help them.
Understanding the importance of support groups, another resource came to be. The Support Forum for Coptic Survivors was created to hold a free, confidential online gathering for all Coptic survivors. Facilitated by two licensed mental health professionals, Mariam Gerges and Mariam Habib, we are certain this forum will be of great help to all those women.
Then there is Eed Wahda, founded by former lawyer and UN Project Consultant Molk Said. Eed Wahda works on both raising awareness through their Facebook page, and also on providing a safe space for survivors to share their stories anonymously if they want to through their Facebook group. They are also present on Instagram.
Similar to Assault Police is the Instagram account @moghtasebon, which is dedicated to following and unraveling yet another miserable rape incident. The account is still collecting testimonials and raising awareness. After the shutdown of Assault Police, a new account named @gangrapistofcairo has emerged, continuing work on the case that caused the alleged shutdown of Assault Police.
Finally, some incredible women started the @womenofcinemainstitute account on Instagram. The account aims to raise awareness about the sexual harassment and assault which terrorized women in the Cinema Institute for decades. It intends on creating real change and holding the assailants accountable. The account has been sharing heartbreaking testimonials, and one cannot wait to see the kind of change it will make.
While we are all hurting now, seeing all those stories and tearing open terrible old wounds, we will be all the better for speaking and supporting each other
Looking at all those resources, all of them dedicated to helping the survivors of such hideous crimes, one cannot help but be hopeful. Hopeful, that while we are all hurting now, seeing all those stories and tearing open terrible old wounds, we will be all the better for speaking and supporting each other. Catharsis is a painful, grueling process. Yet, we will happily go through it for the sake of our sanity, and because it means a better world for girls and women everywhere. Please speak up and make your voices heard. We believe you.