Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Egypt: Update--Rape of British Businesswoman at 5-Star Hotel in Sharm El-Sheikh

According to http://english.ahram.org.eg, Egypt's Tourism Ministry is  working with British Embassy in Cairo and local tourism police to investigate the alleged rape of a 40-year-old British businesswoman  at a five-star hotel in  Sharm El-Sheikh. 

The victim, a businesswoman in her 40s, says she was raped by a hotel security guard in her guest room according to The Daily Mail on Sunday (March 23) at a five-star hotel in the Red Sea resort town.

The guard was reportedly escorting the victim back to her hotel when he allegedly pulled her into her bedroom and subjected her to forcible rape. 

COMMENT: Having worked in Egypt extensively over a 20-year period, criminal investigations are less than thorough which is why there are several questions that need to be addressed:

1. Exactly what circumstances required that the hotel security guard escort the victim back to her hotel when the hotel is his assigned posting?

2. Did the victim  scream when the security guard accosted her?

3. How did the security guard come to possess the victim's key to her room?

4. The reason that I bring these questions up is largely to rule out any victim-precipitated innuendos or conduct, verbal or nonverbal, that may have contributed to the assailant taking the action he did. 

I mention these questions having investigated a number of rapes in Egypt where unfamiliarity in dealing with Egyptian men may subliminally and unknowingly contribute to rape, which is still rape, as the details do impact on criminal prosecution.

Although I understand fully why the victim immediately left Egypt, it would have been useful for her to remain in-country long enough to be debriefed by policewomen. 

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office says reports of sexual assault against British nationals in Egypt have increased since the January 2011 Revolution. In 2012, the office handled 23 cases of sexual assault and six cases of rape. Do keep in mind that such data concerns only ONE foreign affairs agency.

In May 2013, Egypt's tourism minister Hisham Zaazou told Ahram Online that hotels would be closed if staff were found to have been involved in criminally chargeable sexual misconduct. 

Unfortunately, punishing the entire staff of an Egyptian hotel is hardly equitable and likely to have long-lasting negative ramifications.

It would make far more sense to prosecute only hotel employees that have been involved in sexual assault or rape rather than deprive all employees of their jobs.

As a matter of clarification, statistics on sexual assault and rape of foreigners in Egypt tend to be very self-serving and unreliable.

Foreign women raped in budget accommodations in Egypt rarely get Tourism Ministry-level attention as those staying in five-star properties. Tragically, all victims of sexual assault and rape deserve the same level of attention.