Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1338, (30 March - 5 April 2017)
Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Issue 1338, (30 March - 5 April 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Rape of an infant

A man accused of raping a 20-month-old girl has been referred to criminal court for a speedy trial

A man who raped a 20-month-old girl was referred to criminal court on 27 March for a speedy trial.

The 35-year-old man, who has not been identified, confessed to the rape on the day of the incident. The prosecution-general of Daqahliya governorate referred the man to criminal court.

On 24 March during Friday noon prayers, the accused kidnapped the girl, known only by her first name Jana, while she was playing in front of her house in Damalas village in Daqahliya governorate. He took her to a remote area, removed her diapers, and raped her. The child was later found by residents and taken to Belqas Central Hospital of Daqahliya where she had emergency surgery to stop vaginal bleeding.

The incident caused outrage among village residents who tried to burn down the house of the accused who lives with his mother. According to police reports, he was previously charged with murder and was sentenced to 15 years. He fled before he could be jailed.

Reda Al-Danbouki, the lawyer of the baby’s parents, said the mother is still in shock. “I will exert all my efforts to sentence this criminal to death because this is what he deserves,” Al-Danbouki said.

The National Council for Women (NCW) has demanded the maximum penalty for the accused, especially after he confessed. The council’s Daqahliya branch is set to hold a meeting within the next few days to discuss providing aid to the child and her family.

NCW head Maya Morsi condemned the assault in a statement released on Monday, describing it as barbaric. “The girl can barely utter a word. The council is preparing an official statement to be sent to the concerned authorities asking for the execution of this criminal despite the new sexual harassment law,” Morsi said.

Under the new law, harassers face from six months to five years in prison in addition to a fine ranging from LE3,000 to LE50,000. The longer sentences are reserved for offenders who hold a position of power over their victims such as being a woman’s superior at work or being armed with a weapon. The legislation expanded the definition of sexual harassment to include the use of sexual innuendos through signs, whether verbal or physical.

Meanwhile, 350 members of parliament have signed an appeal demanding the death penalty of the accused in addition to increasing the penalty of a rapist to death or life imprisonment due to the damage they cause in society.

Al-Danbouki said after the child has been treated she and her mother will visit a psychiatrist to help them both overcome the incident.

A report issued by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in April 2013 revealed that an overwhelming majority of Egyptian women — 99.3 per cent — have experienced some sort of sexual harassment, and 96.5 per cent of women had been sexually assaulted.

According to the National Centre for Sociological and Criminological Research (NCSCR), 90 per cent of sex offenders are jobless men. There are many contributing factors to the increase in sexual harassment, it said, with unemployment being one.

Salwa Al-Amri, a sociologist at the NCSCR who feels comfortable with the verdict, said that the huge financial cost of marriage and the fact that sex outside marriage is forbidden might also explain the behaviour. “Men take out their frustration, not just sexual, against women. Bullies who sexually harass women on the streets often take advantage of mob situations and the anonymity such situations provide,” Al-Amri said.

Psychiatrist Adli Al-Sheikh said the girl is too young to remember anything. “She already does not understand what has happened to her. All what she can comprehend is that she was attacked and this is causing her physical and psychological pain,” said Al-Sheikh.

“With regular and immediate psychiatric sessions, she can easily overcome what happened to her. She can live a normal life if nobody around her tells her what happened. She is still young and a child’s memory is not formulated before the age of two,” added Al-Sheikh.

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