- Ahmed Shausha
- BBC – Cairo
Basma yelled as she told her friend at the Cairo International Airport that the employee sitting there was unknowingly taking a photo of her.
Just before that, the employee sat on top of an office in the customs area, grabbed the phone, pointed the lens at the passengers, and jumped on foot to see everyone putting bags in the airport cars. This is how Basma begins her story in an interview with BBC Arabic.
Basma Beshai became the heroine of a video clip published while crying while at the airport to help friends, as the clip became the talk of social media after gaining millions of views, and the Egyptian public prosecution and the Cairo airport administration will take immediate action.
Basma tells us what provoked her in this way, which appeared in the video clip, when the employee “calmly dealt with her when she was abused, believing it was impossible to be harmed by the act itself.”
Basma says, “He was consistent and confident. I did not feel shocked after he was exposed. Initially there was not enough interest from those involved at the airport in the complaint, so I published a video clip. I was able to find someone to help me.
But Basma did not expect the clip to spread this way and gain millions of views in a limited number of hours, and she was ready to end the story as soon as the employee apologized and deleted the photos he had taken. He was not instructed to do so at first.
“I was not the only one photographed at the airport.”
The next day, a Cairo airport employee was suspended from work and a customs declaration was withdrawn, pending an investigation by the relevant authorities following the controversy surrounding the video clip.
As this clip paved the way for viewers, many of them expressed great sympathy, with Basma still in a room at the Cairo airport, wearing her husband’s coat, writing a report about the incident with airport security officials around 2am.
Basma arrived with her husband and two friends from a week-long vacation in Beirut, explaining that her husband had seen the picture on the employee’s phone and that it was not the only picture on the phone he had taken from behind. , But many Egyptians and foreigners were photographed in the same way.
Within two days of the incident, the Egyptian public prosecution ordered a Cairo airport employee to be detained for four days, referring him to a criminal trial for allegedly taking a photo of a girl without her consent and violating her sanctity.
Nihad Abu Qumsan, director and director of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, said the allegations against the employee depended on the prosecution’s description of the incident, but in any case, the defendant was charged with the crime he was filming. It is not authorized to take, it is an offense of the law of communication, or a woman exposes the camera for sexual gain.
An Egyptian public prosecution employee has been asked why he “took two pictures without consent and showed her body in public with the aim of gaining the benefit of his or her sexuality.”
It would not have happened this way and that fast without communicating on social media. I am very happy. Basma Bishai commented.
Defendant, however, denied that the airport employee, during the prosecution investigation, said that he had taken the pictures with the intention of documenting the rush to present the victims in front of his superiors, denying the intention of taking photographs of them appearing. .
Nihad Abu Qumsan says the fine for filming for sexual gain, if proven to have occurred, carries a fine of up to one year in prison and imprisonment.
The director of the Egyptian Center for Women ‘s Rights praised the reactions to the incident, explaining that the girls were more willing to disclose, as many of them feared the guilt of society.
Basma says: “This harassment incident was not only in my life, but it was not the worst.”
The “airport girl” adds that people can not travel by car on unpaved streets and do not go to public places like government offices except for the husband without contacting her husband on the phone by all means. .
A 2013 study by a UN research team found that 99 percent of Egyptian women were abused.
But local reports said this could be an exaggeration.
Disclosures on social media about sexual harassment incidents have been active in Egypt for the past few months, sparking widespread controversy, with the authorities moving legally to legislate and investigate the facts to amend the law.
A year ago, the Egyptian parliament passed a law prohibiting investigators from revealing the identities of those who report sexual harassment except those involved, and to disclosing and overriding social norms that prevent them from reporting sexual harassment. .
Abu Qumsan praises these measures, but follows them well, raising awareness and training those in charge of public spaces to deal with incidents of sexual harassment to protect the rights of victims.
“I need to win”
All the incidents that have appeared with the same force on social media in Egypt revolve around physical or verbal abuse, so the Basma incident stands out because it is considered by many to be a photographic attack.
Nihad Abu Qumsan believes that the consideration of photography as a form of sexual harassment indicates an increase in awareness, because girls know that there are many forms of harassment that are not limited to harassment, touch and vocalization.
Egyptian law defines sexual harassment as violating modesty and reaching the victim’s body and showing obscenity that affects her private parts, which she makes no effort to protect or prevent from people.
Basma ends her interview with the BBC by saying that her feelings are mixed between her desire to punish the photographer and her sympathy for her wife and children, but she continues: “I will never give up my rights, especially from women who expect such success. I am like them.” “I need this success.”