Intense media spotlight encouraged femicide into becoming a trend in Egypt: expert

Intense media spotlight encouraged femicide into becoming a trend in Egypt: expert
The major media attention on femicide cases in Egypt has turned the act into "a trend", counselling psychologist Dr Hanan Marzouk claimed to The New Arab.
3 min read
Egypt - Cairo
07 September, 2022
Statistically, around 7.8 million Egyptian women undergo a form of gender-based violence annually. [Getty]

News outlets, as well as social media, have been a double-edged sword that encourages more femicide cases in Egypt, turning the crime into a trend, counselling psychologist Dr Hanan Marzouk claimed to The New Arab on Wednesday.

"Cases of femicide happen everywhere but spotlighting them turns them into a trend, which makes unstable men tend to mimic such incidents, not thinking of the repercussions," she said.

According to Marzouk, "perpetrators of femicide crimes are usually psychotic suffering from 'Erotomania', a delusional love disorder that makes the person, usually, a man in such cases believe that a woman is deeply in love with him despite evidence to the contrary."

"But facing facts wouldn't change a person's belief if he is psychotic. The problem here is that psychosis is sometimes usually hidden and doesn't appear in the person's behaviour until something triggers it like rejection," she explained.

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"In some occurrences, psychosis is genetic, but I believe with the recent women murder cases, environmental factors and wrong upbringing are to blame for this," Marzouk added.

Another factor, she added, is TV, cinema and songs undermining women by adopting ideas that a woman does not have the right to refuse a man's advances.

In 2020, a song caused an uproar in Egypt that encouraged men to date women by force. In the song in question, entitled Salmonella, and written and sung by Tamim Younis, the singer insults the woman whom he wants to take the phone number.

In one phrase of the lyric, Younis says in a threatening manner: "You can't say no." The song was banned on YouTube following reports by followers.

"Such works are the origin of many vices, giving a wrong impression that men are superior to women who cannot say no to them. And once again, intense media coverage and social media comments turn the idea into a trend," Marzouk reflected.

On 3 August, for the third time in three months, a similar incident took place when a 29-old man was shot dead in the back of a 19-year-old university student in Menoufia province, north of the capital Cairo, for rejecting to marry him.

One day later, his body was found on the Alexandria-Agricultural Road in what appeared to be a suicide.

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Last month, a university student killed his classmate in public in Sharkia, north Cairo, by stabbing her to death at least death 10 times, also for rejecting his marriage proposals. He has been referred to speedy trial over pre-meditated murder.

One month earlier, an Egyptian court sentenced a man, who confessed to the horrific killing of university student Naira Ashraf by stabbing her outside campus, in the northeastern Egyptian city of Mansoura, to death by hanging.

Following Ashraf's murder, similar incidents took place across the Middle East - in countries, other than Egypt, including Jordan, and the UAE - which have sparked calls for enhanced protections for women.

Statistically, around 7.8 million Egyptian women undergo a form of gender-based violence annually, whether perpetrated by a spouse/fiancé or individuals in her close circles or from strangers in public places, as per a UN survey released in 2015.