Multiple Egyptian girls and women filed official complaints against accused rapist and sexual harasser Ahmed Bassam Zaki on Sunday morning.
The women and girls filed their complaints with the support of the National Council of Women (NCW) and in the presence of lawyers and a judge, confirmed Sabah Khodir, an activist who has played a key role in exposing Zaki and is currently working with both the NCW and the victims, in statements to Egyptian Streets.
Khodir told Egyptian Streets that the process of filing official complaints went smoothly and that the NCW has providing full and appropriate support to the victims.
“Everyone is extremely happy so far with the courage and bravery it has taken several victims to come forward, many of whom opened up to their parents for the first time regarding their assault and were supported from their parents and direct environment to continue coming forward and complain,” said Khodir to Egyptian Streets.
“The mass public has encouraged the girls to come forward with staple pictures that promotes solidarity for all victims. All we truly want is to know that the women who belong to our country are safe.”
In a post on Instagram, Khodir shared one response she received from a woman who provided her official statement on Sunday.
“I was honestly very scared but when I came in and met the lawyer and the judge, honestly I was so surprised how supportive they were,” said the woman to Khodir, adding that she was very comfortable and so happy she went to file an official complaint.
“The judge told me [when] I came in ‘I believe you. You’re not here to convince us of your story. Even if you were mid-intercourse with this person and you decided you didn’t want to do it anymore and he forced you to keep going, that’s still rape’ – and I was so surprised because I didn’t expect them to be so supportive.”
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Confirmation that multiple Egyptian girls and women have officially come forward comes after the NCW and the Egyptian Public Prosecution urged Egyptian women and girls to file official complaints. Earlier in the week, the Public Prosecution had released a statement that no one had come forward with an official complaint and called for people to come forward.
While multiple girls and women have now come forward, more are being encouraged to contact the NCW and file further official complaints.
Zaki was detained on Saturday pending further investigations into allegations he raped, sexually assaulted and sexually harassed dozens of Egyptian and foreign women and girls.
Allegations against Zaki began surfacing on social media last Wednesday, with dozens of women anonymously sharing details of sexual assault, harassment and rape at his hands.
Zaki’s alleged victims say his sexual misconduct dates back to his teenage years. Khodir and Instagram account Assault Police (@assaultpolice) have been working together to to collect evidence against Zaki and to create a record of the many instances of alleged stalking, blackmail and online harassment he allegedly engaged in, as well as firsthand accounts by women who have been raped or sexually assault by him.
The case has attracted nationwide interest, with a number of Egyptian television show hosts discussing the case on their shows. Egyptian celebrities have also actively condemned Zaki’s actions and applauded the women and girls for speaking out.
Any victims willing to come forward can contact the National Council of Women at 15115 or message Khodir, who is working with NCW on this matter, on her Instagram account and she will help connect them with lawyers and support. For more information about this case, read Egyptian Streets’ in-depth write-up, analysis and commentary by clicking here.