Founder of What Women Want magazine May Abdel Asim, alongside founder of the Safe Kids foundation Sara Aziz, have recognized a gap in support for abuse victims in Egypt. Their new Facebook group, 'Abuse Relief Aide', seeks to fill that gap.
In recent weeks, sexual abuse allegations have exposed a rift in Egyptian society. But it has also exposed a lack of support for victims of such abuse. And while we've covered lists of legal support and therapy groups at #CairoScene, the fact of the matter is, those lists should be longer. Founder of What Women Want magazine May Abdel Asim, alongside founder of the Safe Kids foundation Sara Aziz, have recognized this gap and decided to fill it by creating a Facebook group called 'Abuse Relief Aide'.
"Like many I saw the incidents unfolding around ABZ in the early days," May Abdel Asim told #CairoScene, referring to the alleged assault of over 100 women by Ahmed Bassam Zaki. "Shortly before ABZ was arrested, we started posting, 'We believe all women and we will stand by them'. The testimonies of sexual violence started pouring in. I knew that sharing the story would not be enough. I had teamed up with my dear friend Sara Aziz, Founder of Safe Kids and a sexual trauma therapist, to launch Abuse Relief Aide, and within hours we had volunteers lining up."
In the short term, Abuse Relief Aid looks to give immediate relief to sexual assault survivors through free therapy and legal consultation, with Abdel Asim handling case assessment and Sara Aziz overseeing therapy. In the long term, Abdel Asim hopes to change legislation and create a paradigm shift in regards to rape culture in Egypt. And part of that is their willingness to listen to all kinds of cases, even those that aren't part of the public conversation - whether the victims are women, men or children. "We have to be part of the solution," Abdel Asim said. "Any case we get is confidential and only very few team members have access. We have processed over 40 cases in the past two weeks and currently have seven survivors in therapy and three in line for legal aide."
Whether you are in need of legal assistance, therapy, or a safe space to share your story, the Abuse Relief Aide group are accepting cases through their email, firstname.lastname@example.org.