Controversy was sparked at the Ismailiya governorate on Thursday, 18 February as 26-year-old Abdallah Ahmed beat and abused his newlywed wife, 24-year-old Maha Mohamed.
Following a video that circulated on social media platforms, Ahmed was caught beating his fiancée at the time as she headed out of the hair salon.
In a statement following the social media outrage, Abdallah told Youm 7 that “I’m shocked by how people reacted on social media. This is normal behavior where we live. Plus, she’s my relative, my uncle’s daughter.”
Mohamed added to Ahmed’s statement, saying, “I love Abdallah and I’m not forced to marry him. I got into a fight with my make-up artist, and that fueled my fight with Abdallah.”
Ahmed proceeded to defend his actions by explaining how this is normal behavior for people who live in Upper Egypt – a region that does not include Ismailia – expressing how this behavior would be ingrained in him whether he lived in the U.S or France.
The social media outrage, with the hashtag, اوقفوا ياسمين عز# trending on Twitter, was further perpetuated after news anchor, Yasmine Ezz, aided and abetted Ahmed’s abuse.
People on social media platforms called for the National Council for Women (NCW) to take actions against Ezz after she stated that “as long as I’m okay with it and so is he, then it really doesn’t matter. Men are strong and angry by nature, and his wife should tolerate it. We shouldn’t ask for a divorce after the first hit.”
ده جزء من كلام "المذيعة" ياسمين عز تعليقًا على عروسة إلاسماعيلية في برنامجها على قناة MBC مصر..
ياسمين مش بس بتطبع العنف، دي كمان شايفه أن الضحية لازم تسكت وتستحمل عشان تبقى "أصيلة".
— Speak Up (@SpeakUp_00) February 18, 2022
According to the NCW, around eight million Egyptian women are at risk of domestic violence each year, and up to 86 percent of wives may face spousal abuse.
Maya Morsy, President of the NCW, released a statement addressing Abdallah and Mohamed, saying that “men don’t beat and abuse women. For you to abuse your wife while wearing her wedding dress is absurd. You chose to not take action against your husband, but that isn’t good in your case. I won’t be surprised if he further abuses you, kills you, or beats you in front of your children inside your home or in public.”
The penal code on domestic violence lacks the proper penalties for violence against women. Article 242 of the relevant law states that “if the beating or wounding does not reach the degree mentioned in the two previous articles, the perpetrator shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or a fine.”
Article 240 of the penal code sets a penalty of one year in prison with a fine of EGP 200 for battery, and a maximum of five years in jail, and a fine of EGP 300 for those who injure or beat others to the point of injuries or permanent disabilities.
Meanwhile, Article 214 of the penal code states that “Whoever causes an injury to another or beats another person in a manner that causes the same sickness or incapacity to perform personal duties for a period not exceeding twenty days, shall be punished by imprisonment of no more than two years or by a fine of no less than twenty Egyptian pounds and no more than three hundred Egyptian pounds.”
The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights indicated that “current Egyptian media treats violence against women as acceptable and legitimate. This has a strong effect on millions of Egyptians, men and women alike, and contributes to cultural barriers that seriously impede actions aimed at reducing the incidence of violence against women, legislation and enforcement.”