Outrage after Egyptian woman 'pushed off balcony' for having male visitor

Outrage after Egyptian woman 'pushed off balcony' for having male visitor
The 34-year-old woman reportedly fell to her death following a confrontation with her landlord over a male visitor.
3 min read
14 March, 2021
The woman fell six stories to her death [Getty]
The shocking death of a female doctor has reignited outrage over harmful social norms and so-called honour crimes in Egypt.

The 34-year-old doctor fell to her death from the balcony of her sixth-floor Cairo apartment this week, reportedly amid a dispute with her landlord and neighbour over a male visitor.

The landlord, doorman and another resident of the building reportedly attacked the woman after hearing she had invited a male colleague over to her apartment.

Prevelant conservative social norms consider it shameful for a woman to be alone with an unrelated man.

Local media reports allege the woman was pushed from her balcony by the men who broke into the apartment and physically assaulted her.

Reports vary however, with some claiming the doctor fell during the course of the alleged assault and was not pushed.

The landlord has denied the allegations and claimed the woman jumped from the balcony in a "psychological crisis", Al-Masry al-Youm reported.

Three people have been arrested in connection with an ongoing investigation into the woman's death, according to local media reports.

The alleged killing has been condemned by Egyptian women's rights activists who have linked the suspicious death to other so-called honour crimes.

The National Council for Women has offered legal support to the doctor's family, the body said in a statement on Saturday.
Read more: New draft law deems Egyptian women legally incapacitated

The unnamed doctor's death follows a resurgent #MeToo-style movement in Egypt last year that highlighted widespread incidents of sexual harassment and assault.

The movement began in July after 22-year-old student Nadeen Ashraf launched an Instagram page with the handle @assaultpolice, exposing serial sexual harassment and assault allegations against student Ahmed Bassem Zaki.
The account later exposed the so-called Fairmont Crime, an alleged gang rape that took place in the Fairmont Nile City Hotel in Cairo in 2014. 

Similar social media accounts allowed other women to safely and anonymously share alleged accounts of sexual assault and harassment by prominent authors and journalists.

A new draft personal status law referred to Egypt's parliament last month has reaffirmed concerns over women's rights in the country.

If put into law, the proposal would see many women's decisions put into the hands of their fathers, husbands or closest male relatives.

The draft law would allow only a male guardian the right to sign a marriage certificate on the woman's behalf, and would also grant male relatives the right to annul a woman's marriage at any time.

It would also give male relatives the right to prevent a woman from traveling, and would restrict women's rights over their children by prioritising the father in custody disputes and other matters.

The draft law is a "shocking and frustrating" set-back for women's rights that would see female Egyptians reduced to "machines for birthing children", the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECRW) said in a statement.

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