On Wednesday 1 July, posts started appearing on social media accusing an Egyptian man in his twenties of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment (Egyptian Streets). Within days, an Instagram page set up to expose him identified 93 credible accusers, some as young as 13, the campaign organizers said (NY Times). Lawyer Tarek Elawady said these events showed that Egypt was starting to take sex crimes seriously and women should have the courage to speak out (Reuters). “This is now the start of an opportunity (for change) that we must take advantage of,” said Elawady (Reuters).
On Saturday, three days after the Instagram page went up, the Cairo police arrested Ahmed Bassam Zaki at his home in an upmarket suburb (NY Times). The swift and public action was a remarkable turn for Egypt, where sexual harassment and assault are woefully common (NY Times). A 2017 Thomson Reuters Foundation poll found Cairo to be the most dangerous megacity for women (Reuters). The #TheRapistAhmedBassamZaki remain trending on Twitter, with stories and a petition being shared around (Egyptian Streets).