An Egyptian man accused of beating and raping a 17-year-old girl has been arrested days after social media uproar.
An arrest warrant has also reportedly been issued for the young girl’s arrest on charges of violating public morals through her social media posts, and also to conduct an investigation regarding her rape claims.
Menna Abdelaziz posted a video late last week where she alleged Mazen Ibrahem and three other girls beat her and raped her. The video, along with another that allegedly showed Menna being slapped in the face, and reports of the rape quickly went viral, with social media users calling for justice and for Mazen to be punished.
On Monday, Egyptian local news outlet El Watan reported that Mazen was arrested in connection with the allegations of rape.
Following Menna’s release of the video, Mazen started posting intimate photographs of Menna, apparently shaming her for her choice of dress and saying he would not rape her.
“How could I rape her?” he commented on one now-deleted photo on Facebook that showed Menna sitting on Mazen’s lap.
Moreover, in a number of Instagram stories that have also since been deleted, Mazen called Menna a liar and shared more photos of her from her social media accounts.
Al Bawaba released a video of Mazen in which he states ”I will not report her because she’s a girl and when a girl is upset, she could say anything in a moment of anger […] She has already apologized so I’m not upset with her.”
However, Egyptian authorities are still looking for Menna to continue their investigation into the incident.
DIVIDE AND UPROAR: SOCIAL MEDIA BACKLASH
The photos and videos resulted in an intense campaign against Menna, with many social media users slut-shaming her for her choice of dress and actions on TikTok. However, others came to Menna’s defence, with a hashtag “Justice for Menna Abdelaziz” taking over the top trending hashtags in Egypt on both Facebook and Twitter.
As calls for justice increased, with two hashtags related to the event becoming the top trending hashtags in Egypt for more than 24 hours, Menna released a number of videos where she claimed that “everything is okay” and that she and Mazen “are okay now”.
One of the videos showed her speaking to a camera on her own, with a man seemingly directing her off camera. In another, Menna was shown sitting with other young men, stating that the entire incident was misunderstood. It is unclear if Mazen was one of these men.
In these videos, Menna highlighted that the heart of the matter was an intentional fall-out between her and Mazen caused by her female friends.
”Mazen did beat me as you can see, but people, the girls who video tapped me, were the cause for the fall out between me and Mazen,” she stated in one TikTok video circulating on Twitter
”It was just a problem between me and Mazen. The cause of it was three girls, they video tapped and hit me. After they did so, I was devasated. There was no rape, but I was devasted because I had been beaten up. There’s nothing to it and Mazen is like an older brother,” she stated in another TikTok video in which an individual asks her to summarize the incident.
Following the release of these videos, Mazen deleted all ‘slut-shaming’ posts related to Menna from his social media accounts.
However, sources speaking to Egyptian newspaper El Watan have said that Menna is now wanted for arrest on charges of violating public morals through her publication of certain posts and videos on her social media accounts.
Although the matter has not been clarified, the incident has highlighted problematic victim shaming in Egyptian behaviour. It is more timely considering recent allegations of Egyptian female TikTok users ‘inciting debauchery and immorality’ , such as Mawada Eladhm, through their behaviour and activities on social media.