An Egyptian woman rescued a little girl from a man who sexually assaulted her after discovering the ongoing incident in her building’s CCTV feed. The woman saw the man bring the child into a corner of the stairwell and put his hands under her clothes and put his hands over her body. The suspect was identified after this film was published online. Activists have spoken out against what they say is Egypt’s rape culture.
The video that Eugénie Osama published online is barely a minute long, but it has been like a bomb going off on social media. It shows a man wearing glasses, a suit and a tie entering a building. He seems to insist that someone outside the screen come with him. A little girl in red joins him and then the man leads her to a corner of the stairwell. Once there, he starts running his hands over her private parts as she fights.
Eugénie Osama, who works in a laboratory, saw the incident when it happened on the building’s CCTV images. She rushed out of her lab to confront the man and let the child escape. From his gestures, it is clear that the man denies the accusations, but Osama responds by pointing his finger at the camera. The man then leaves the building quickly.
Due to the shocking nature of the video, our team will only publish screenshots.
The man trains the back fillet the wall of the escalator cage, then touches it the fissures, before placing the back of it on it. It’s at this point that it has begun to debate. © Social Networks.
The man takes the little girl behind a wall in the stairwell. He touches her buttocks, then stands behind her and grabs her by the arms. That’s when she starts fighting. © Social media
“Disgusting, contemptible animal!” Osama wrote the caption for this video, which is an excerpt from the original surveillance film. She said on Facebook that the platform later took down the video because of its content.
Alerted by the video surveillance, Eugénie Osama was precipitated in the corridor, and confronted the aggressor. © Social Networks.
After discovering the horrific incident when it happened on CCTV, Osama rushed into the corridor and confronted the attacker. © Social media
In Egypt, the video received more than 600,000 views on Twitter. People responded with outrage. Osama said she had published the video “to expose this animal so that he would be punished for what he did to the little girl. […]”.
“When I confronted him and showed him the camera, he fled. We must find him and condemn him! She said in her original post on Facebook.
The incident took place in a building on Liberty Square in El Maadi, an expensive suburb south of Cairo. Since the man’s face is visible in the video, social media users were able to identify him and turn him into a police officer. Following calls from millions of social media users and a national organization to protect children, Cairo’s prosecutors launched an investigation. The perpetrator of the attack was sentenced to seven years in prison on March 10.
Cairo police investigated and verified further CCTV videos – this time from the street in front of the building – which appeared to show that the assault was intentional. You can see the man talking to the little girl, then they walk together towards the building
In interviews with Egyptian media, Osama said she saw the incident occur while sitting at her desk in the reception laboratory. She said she and a colleague followed the man before losing sight of the traffic.
Additional CCTV images show the child fleeing. You can then see the attacker flee after his confrontation with Osama and her colleague.
The victim, who is seven years old, has been receiving counseling since the assault, provided by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood. She sold tissues on the street and helped her father, who works as a caretaker in one of the buildings in this elegant suburb.
“It is important to document sexual abuse: without it no one believes us, and not even with it …”
Mennah is a journalism student in Cairo and a women’s rights activist. She said that filming and documentation are extremely important in cases of sexual abuse.
For the most part, if not all the time, in cases of sexual abuse, people question the victim’s version of events. She is never believed. Even when the attacker is caught in the act, as in this example, he always denies it and is often believed instead of the victim.
Even after [Osama] published the video and explained what had happened, some defended the attacker and convicted her. A large segment of society does not believe that an attacker should be punished or established or that his identity should be revealed. They say that what he did is not too serious, although there is visual evidence. And I think there is a very small segment of the population that will believe in a victim if there is no video at all.
We ask women to provide evidence, but it is incredibly rare. A woman may not have the reflex to film what is happening. She may be scared and may not know what to do when she meets the attacker. This is what gives attackers a sense of power over someone else’s body: impunity.
The Egyptian press only recently began to cover up sexual abuse. In general, we prefer to hide sexual abuse and not think about the cause. We spend even less time on the solutions. It seems that the simplest solution for many families whose children have been abused remains to bury their heads in the sand to avoid “damaging someone’s reputation”.
This little girl is a street child. She might have seen the man as a father figure and trusted him. Outside of themselves, street children need both money and kindness from passers-by and this man took advantage of that.
The child probably did not understand what the man was doing to her before she started calling for help [Editor’s note: according to reports from several Egyptian media outlets]. But since this event has exploded in the media and on social media, the child will realize when she grows up what happened to her and God only knows what consequences it may have for her.
More than 100 sexual assaults on minors have been reported in the last two months.
In early March, a young woman in Alexandria spoke to her father, who did not want her to report that she had been sexually abused because he was ashamed.
The National Council of Childhood and Motherhood has a telephone line where complaints can be submitted and victims can have access to counseling. The same council reported that they had received 105 reports of abuse in January and February, of which nine percent took place in a family environment.