By : Shahd Roshdy( Journalist) & Diya Gopinath(Editor)
August 23, 2020
Influence does not make you Invincible
Enthralled by panoramic views of Cairo’s skyline, the glistening Nile River and the Pyramids under a beautiful, clear sky, on the 21st of February 2014, attendees at the TeaDance 13th Edition event were having a blast. As each attendee enjoyed themselves to the fullest, a night most described as “unforgettable”, none were aware of the heinous crime occurring mere moments away in a secluded hotel suite.
As the Egyptian and foreign youth danced away to the tunes of Dutch professional Joris Voors and local, Hafez, an 18-year old girl was drugged with GHB (also known as the date rape drug) and taken to a hotel suite. 5 to 8 young men from influential Egyptian families took turn to rape her while another filmed the entire incident. They left her after signing their names across her body and buying her silence with threats of releasing the video.
She remained silent for 6 long years. Until 2020, no one had even heard about this incident. This case only came to light when over one hundred victims of Ahmed Zaki’s serial assaults sparked a national discussion on violence against women and upper class circumvention. Encouraged by the open discussion and receiving of such cases, this lady came forth and opened up about her story.
The #fairmontincident and #fairmontcrime created an outrage on social media with numerous accounts calling out this crime and demanding justice for this woman. Numerous others also came forth with their stories of assault and rape by the same group of men. However, still baking on their influence and wealth, these perpetrators sent death threats to each account who called them out in hopes of news that spread like wildfire.
Yet, none were deterred by this. The National Council for Women compiled evidence to support this women’s claims and presented this to Egypt’s Public Prosecution Office. On August 5th, the Public Prosecution Office announced that investigations were underway and developments would be announced when deemed appropriate.
This incident brings to light two very important lessons. In many societies, influence and wealth are seen as signs of untouchability, of being above everyone else. This is what made these men feel like they had the power to do as they pleased. One may say that this is the case only with developing societies. But this same is witnessed across the world with cases surfacing against influential figures such as Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. People should learn that their position in society gives them no right to do as they please and silence those in their wake. This also shines light on the fact that no matter which adjectives synonymous to modern and developed we use to describe the world we lie in, we still live in a place where women remain in fear and in silence for something that is not their fault.
Change is possible and we as changemakers must ensure that such cases come to light. Women should not live in fear, silenced for the rest of their lives. People must be taught that their possessions or status does not make them invincible. Only then can we call our society developed and advanced.