Controversial TV host Reham Saeed caused an uproar when she hosted a victim of harassment on her show and proceeded to blame her for the incident, and violate her privacy on air.
In a shocking turn of events, when women are meant to support each other in a delicate time of need, particularly when one is subject to sexual harassment and physical abuse, controversial TV Host Reham Saeed brutally and unjustly lashed out at a woman by the name of Somaya Tarek who was attacked at El Horreya mall in Heliopolis.
CCTV footage from the mall shows a man making an exit from the building with his head turned towards Tarek walking closely behind as they exchange quick words before he turns around and slaps her twice aggressively on the face. Saeed hosted Somaya Tarek on her TV Show Sabaya al-Kheir last Tuesday following her assault. Tarek explains that her assailant, by the name of Hani, followed her into the mall, and on her way out approached her and casually stated he was waiting for her for far too long and if they were to leave together already. Confusedm Tarek responded asking what he meant and if she knows him at all. “You’re coming home with me,” was his following statement. Tarek then raised her voice and threatened to call security and so Hani responded by physically attacking her.
Following her explanation of the incident during the interview, Saeed then bombards Tarek with a series of preposterous questions such as “Was the camera on fast forward or something? Because it seems like you’re the one who told him something then he turned around and slapped you, you didn’t curse at him first?” that as well as the most anti-feminist question of all time: “I see you were wearing a cut t-shirt and tight jeans, don’t you think it was a bit in appropriate for a mall? And that it probably enticed and encouraged him to harass you?” Tarek of course responded logically saying this is, in no way, shape, or form, a valid excuse for a man to harass a woman, and that women ought to be free to dress as they please and that we shouldn’t submit to such an oppressive way of thought.
Tarek was also disgruntled by the lack of support she received from the mall security and authorities. “At first security told me not to worry and that he will be dealt with, then they let him go because they knew his history […] that he’s an ex-convict who served 6 years in prison for assault on a woman and for holding her in captivity.” The cops pretty much operated in the same fashion, forcing the investigation to reach a dead end over a multitude of excuses.
Following their interview, Saeed went even further by airing personal photos of Tarek, which she claims were sent directly to the producer’s Whatsapp account, with one photo showing the victim holding a bottle of alcohol, another of her with a man’s arms wrapped around her waist, and another of her in a bikini being carried by a man on a beach, and finally showing a couple of selfies of the victim barely dressed, blurring her chest almost as though to imply her being topless. Saeed’s speech following the unauthorized screening of these photos is yet another violation, of Tarek’s privacy first and now against women rights, encouraging patriarchy and the sexist behavior plaguing society today which anti-harassment campaigns have been targeting over the recent years. “This entire story seems illogical […] For starters if I were in her place I would feel affected by this incident, she wasn’t. She was smiling,” stated Saeed, “Like we judge harassers, we should also judge the girls who encourage these men […] These photos indicate something is wrong with her. A lot of girls don’t answer back to men who harass them, but usually, when girls react that aggressively, they must be shocked they’re being subject to this situation, but look at these photos! […] Not everything we see we should believe. Not everyone who claims they are a victim, truly are one. Not every video we see is truthful, we don’t know what happened before or after that. If I am okay someone carrying me in a swimsuit in this fashion, surely I will be okay with being harassed, it’s not the end of the world. Then I come out on TV and say I’m a victim […] We don’t make people famous here, and we won’t make a story out of nothing. The fact that the authorities didn’t respond means they thought something was wrong with her. Truth is girls like her are asking for it. Parents, you mind your daughters, and nothing bad will happen to them.”
Needless to say, an aggressive backlash at Reham Saeed followed on social media platforms.
Tarek herself wrote on Facebook, “I will soon reply to everything that happened, just let me come out of that shock I received, and believe me, I will take my rights and the rights of every free honorable woman, because we are free, not slaves to dirty media that slanders people.”
Twitter took up the Arabic hashtag (#Die_Reham) first launched by activist Wael Abbas, while several other officials, professionals and media personnel attacked Saeed for her detestable act, which in any other civilized society would be considered an illegal act against human rights. 15 lawyers are already willing to offer Tarek legal support and take her case against her assailant as well as Saeed to court.
This is not Saeed’s first condemnable act. Other incidents sparking a backlash on social media included her insulting Syrian refugees last September for attacking her car as she distributed food and clothes under the camera’s eyes, calling them disrespectful, uncivilized, lost and degenerate, resulting with renowned journalist Yosri Foda calling Saeed “the sewer of the media” on his Facebook page. Another incident included Saeed kicking out an atheist off her show and out of the studio for discussing her views respectfully, saying “I wasted my time talking to a lunatic in the first place.”
How is one, at this day an age, capable of demonstrating such regressive views? Particularly if the one in question is an educated woman, a mother, and a media representative? With Egypt hard at work attempting to break out of the gutters of patriarchal political and social systems, it is safe to say Reham Saeed's mindset is not appropriate for a position in modern day media. Campaigns to boycott and take down her TV show Sabaya al-Kheir are already in the works.