The high cost of to be a free woman in Egypt
My name is Somya Ebeid,24 , an Egyptian woman who was abused by her dad as a kid , had to see a psychologist at the age of 16 and later banned from entering her college as an adult because of a tattoo on my shoulder.
Following that painful experience, I have noticed that the Egyptian society was looking down upon me as if divorce was a stigma or a crime. However, I did not care much at the time and have continued to live my life normally without abiding by the traditional islamic dress code or the Egyptian conservative culture. This life style and dress code have brought me plenty of problems.
I have experienced all kinds of verbal and physical harassments due to my " dress code ", which I consider to be normal ( tank top and pair of jeans ) but even this casual dress code is widely viewed by many sections of the Egyptian society as "slutty". I knew life in Egypt was likely to become extremely difficult but I decided to swim against the tide and live my life as an independent woman. I have accepted daily harassment as a by-product of living in male dominated society, such as Egypt.
Five years later, on October 25th of 2015, I was walking in a shopping mall when a guy that I have never knew started talking to me and asked me to spend the night at his apartment. I just thought he is another guy who was eyeing some of my flesh just like everybody else. Thus, I have asked him to stop or else I will call security to deal with him. Unfortunately, before I even finished my sentence he started to slap me on my face several times and was going to attempt to force me to go with him but thankfully the mall's security guards have interfered and stopped him ,who let him go free after few minutes !!.
The incident made headlines in Egypt because it was recorded on surveillance and it brought the issue of sexual and verbal harassments to surface again. Following this incident, I went on a tv show by Riham Said's popular talk show "Sabaya El-Kheir". Rather than empathy, I found an aggressive presenter shaming me of wearing "tank top and tight jeans"to tell my story to try to get my right to send that predator to jail. However, the tv presenter has aired on her show very personal photos to me (barely naked pictures of me at home , photos of me wearing bikini on the beach and drinking alcohol ) she stood on the side of the criminal and blamed me for what happened and invaded my privacy by publishing my photos to nearly 100 million residents in Egypt and alluded that I deserved what happened to me since I am a liberal girl!!
After my privacy was violated in front of the population of Egypt, I have received support from many Egyptians. This support was enough to suspend the presenter who has portrayed me as a whore and was enough to encourage me to take that predator to court, where he was sentenced to only 2 weeks in jail and pay less than 5$ in court !(regardless that the same guy was in jail for 7 years in 2001 because he raped another girl !). My story was known by the name of ( the mall girl ). After that TV show, my life has changed to the worse, I have become a public figure and several people thought that I may be a true whore since normal Egyptian women do not drink or wear light clothes.
Fast forward, 2017, the same predator tricked me and deliberately cut my face with a sharp knife in an attempt to slaughter me, I have ended up with over 51 stitches on my face.a 25 cm cut , and once again, I have made headlines in Egyptians news, talk shows and many people started to question my life style again and attributed what happened to my liberal life style. This makes feel weak, lonely, insecure, depressed and fearful for my life as I have nearly escaped death from a criminal but now I am facing moral assassination by many sections of the Egyptian
Further , I have started noticing people who I don't know monitoring me near my residence and following me when I go out. Recently, my car has been broken in to and several legal documents related to the case against that predator were stolen. I have filed a police report about this but I am very fearful now since I know that that guy, his relatives, friends or others are seeking to Kill me. In fact, there is an accomplice who was given that sharp object after the attack and that person is still on the loose & can attack me any time.
In summary, I have documents, videos , police / hospital reports and I need help for 2 things, the Egyptian patriarchal police system won't take the victim's side. What i need the most now is to take a proper medical treatment for the scar in my face. However, Im alone can't afford the money to do the cosmetic operations. ,I need to get out of Egypt since I am violated, disfigured, dehumanized, humiliated, labelled, threatened and recently got fired from my job for no fault of my own other than the fact that now my face is disfigured and I have become a public figure in Egypt.