The Egyptian Interior Ministry announced on 30 May that it apprehended the foreign national who recently appeared in a viral video harassing an Egyptian woman. Al-Ahram reports that the man’s arrest occurred as he was attempting to leave Egypt. The perpetrator, a renowned plastic surgeon and social media influencer in Brazil, has been referred to the prosecution and awaits trial.
The video, which initially appeared on the perpetrator’s public Instagram Story, shows him making apparently unsolicited sexual remarks in Portuguese at a papyrus vendor in an unknown Egyptian market. The perpetrator has since made his Instagram account private and deleted his Facebook page.
Within two days of the video first appearing on his Instagram account, it went viral in Brazil, where women’s right activists launched a social media campaign condemning his actions. They then reached out to Speak Up, an Egyptian online platform combatting sexual harassment, pointing out the man’s inappropriate behaviour.
Multiple Egyptian pages and platforms publicly condemned the man’s actions, and the video went also went viral in Egypt along with the hashtag حاسبوا_المتحرش_البرازيلي# (“hold the Brazilian harasser accountable).
Since mid-2020, Egypt has witnessed a reawakening in its fight against sexual violence. Starting with the infamous ‘ABZ’ case, which saw a man being accused of sexually assaulting and raping dozens of women, activists have mobilized to combat what has been described as an ‘epidemic’.
Following these renewed campaigns, the Egyptian Parliament approved a legislative amendment to protect the identities of victims of harassment, rape and assault during court cases.
Nevertheless, activists say that more needs to be done to ensure the protection of women, particularly those who are from more vulnerable backgrounds.