The crazy ride of 2020 is still nowhere near over. This time, the craziness is happening in Egypt, but definitely in a good way. It seems that the quarantine period has awakened our inner humanity, our inner voices, and our inner fighters. Rape victims are finally being heard and rapists are finally being called out; what a time to be alive.
It all started on July the 1st, when revelations and confessions from girls (and boys!) started surfacing all social media platforms, specifically Twitter, about the rapist Ahmed Bassam Zaki. Flashback to when Bassam graduated high school in 2016, he enrolled in the AUC for 2 years and then left for the EU Business School in Barcelona. Why did he leave, you may ask? In 2018, on a Facebook group called “RATE AUC PROFESSORS,” one girl came forward, accusing Ahmed Bassam Zaki of harassing her and two of her friends. Shockingly, over 50 girls admitted that they experienced uncomfortable situations with him, as well. It was then he claimed that he is “suffering” from personal issues, and might kill himself if these accusations weren’t put to a halt. It wasn’t too long until the case fell quiet, with no action whatsoever done to investigate him, and he transferred to a business school in Spain.
Now, flash-forward to 2020, the original post on the group, with over 1000 comments full of proof of what he did, was deleted. Within hours of the deletion, the confessions started to flood the internet, shared by two main profiles: Sabah Khodir (A writer and a poet) (@iquote_poetry) and @assaultpolice. To this day, the hashtag #المتحرش_احمد_بسام_زكي is still trending on Twitter. What is more horrific is that some of the accusations date back when Bassam was still in high school.
The accusations toward Ahmed Bassam Zaki from almost over 150 victims included rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and surely enough, blackmail.
All thanks to the power of social media, after two days since the confessions started, everyone had heard about them, including actors, social media influencers, journalists, AND the National Council for Women. Amr Adib, a TV presenter ,and journalist took to his platform to emphasize the word “No” and how it simply means no. No man in the world should force a woman (whether she is a girlfriend, friend, sister, relative, or even wife) to do anything she does not want to. Ramy Radwan also talked about the situation in his TV show dmc مساء, and announced that rape victims can now file an official online complaint to the Egyptian Public Prosecution. The case grabbed the attention of everyone on all social media platforms, and with the amount of evidence (including voice records and screenshots of conversations) and the many brave girls who came forward with their stories, Ahmed Bassam Zaki was arrested on the night of July 4th. Up until now, Bassam is being held in custody by the Egyptian Public Prosecution.
All the victims are now building up the courage to go and report their abuser, with no fear of their identity being revealed, since the prime minister himself amended the law to provide increased protection for the identities of the victims.
Not only the government, but also Radwa El Sherbiny is helping the victims and encouraging them to go and file complaints against Ahmed Bassam Zaki so that we could win this case, as seen in the tweet below:
Moreover, the EU Business School in Barcelona expelled and filed criminal charges against Ahmed Bassam Zaki, after receiving online allegations about him on July 1st. The school also received complaints from some of its students about Bassam.
The voices of Egyptian women reached The New York Times and Reuters, too!
The case of Ahmed Bassam Zaki awoke everyone who was a victim of rape, sexual assaults, harassment, and abuse; specifically the ones who were not aware they were actual victims. Everyone who was once or still is a victim is coming forward, telling their story, and showing how they were strong enough to survive. It felt like a slap of reality, knowing that almost every girl each person knows has been a victim of predators. Everyone is now more aware of the harsh reality that Egyptian women have to live with. Everyone now knows the number of precautions each girl has to take when it’s time to walk the Egyptian streets. Everyone now also knows those rape victims are not only girls or women, but boys and men, too. Rapists do not know gender: they just know rape. We sincerely hope that this ends in a way that makes all women feel safe. We hope that the law could protect us, we pray that our calls are heard, and we will not rest until Ahmed Bassam Zaki and the likes of him are thrown in jail.
Girls, do not forget: 15115 is the hotline for women in Egypt to call in case of harassment, rape, domestic abuse, assault, etc.
Be brave, be strong, and be sure that your voice will be heard. It’s about time that we take action.