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Egypt gang rape attack in hotel reignites #MeToo campaign

July 30, 2020 at 1:55 pm

Fairmont Nile City Hotel in Cairo, Egypt on 12 August 2017 [africa_guide/Twitter]

An alleged gang rape attack which was also said to have been filmed in a hotel in Cairo in 2014 has triggered a new wave of #MeToo posts related to Egypt on social media.

The assault is said to have taken place at the five-star Fairmont Nile City Hotel, when a group of four to seven men from “upper-class” backgrounds drugged and raped a girl after a “Tea Dance” event. According to some posts the men even signed their initials on her body. The videos are seen as both “trophies” sent to other groups and to be used as blackmail against the victim.

The group have had their names and images posted on social media to increase the pressure on the police to act and for it to gain wider attention. On Twitter, the hashtag #fairmontincident and Arabic hashtag “Fairmont crime” were trending. The gang have been accused of previous assaults.

The fact that the men are seen as well-connected from well-to-do families has caused many to believe the authorities will not seek justice for the victim, who has not come forward to press charges out of fear of backlash.

READ: Egypt cabinet approves bill to keep sexual harassment victims anonymous

An Instagram account called Assault Police which had over 170,000 followers was also abruptly shut down yesterday after multiple death threats, according to sources close to its operator.

Others pointed to the hypocrisy of the serious allegations being ignored by law enforcement, while two Egyptian women have been detained and sentenced to prison over “inappropriate” videos on the app TikTok.

The Instagram account also played a role in the exposing and investigation of an alleged serial rapist and harasser, Ahmed Bassam Zaki, who is accused of over 50 sexual crimes. Egyptian authorities have long been criticised for rewarding the perpetrator and not the victim. A 2013 UN study found that 99 per cent of women in Egypt had at some point in their lives been sexually harassed, either verbally or physically.

READ: Prominent writer arrested for sexual assault as Egypt’s #MeToo movement expands