Meet the 22-year-old who sparked #MeToo in Egypt

"My name is Nadeen Ashraf and I'm the founder of Assault Police"

When Cairo student Nadeen Ashraf started an anonymous blog to expose sexual harassment in her inner circles,

the 22-year-old never knew it would spark Egypt's #metoo movement.

She's has been selected as part of the BBC's 100 women of 2020. So far she's exposed two high profile sexual harassment incidents and her blog is now a voice for hundreds of women across Egypt--

A country in which, in 2013, a United Nations survey suggested 99% of women experienced harrassment.

"I had this idea... I'm a student, I don't have a voice in the media, I cannot change legislation, so the first thing I thought about is social media. I wanted to express myself and have my voice heard by the people. I wanted to expose someone who I know had committed the crime of sexual harassment, and I knew this to be a crime and something wrong. But no one was talking about it as everyone believes it a shame to talk about this, and we should not talk about this in our Arab society, I was so tired and annoyed and refused that this had been happening every day for years and I had to do something about it."

Ashraf first case was when she anonymously exposed a student from a wealthy background, Ahmed Bassam Zaki, who was later jailed and is currently on trial for sexual assault.

That case prompted the government to approve a bill to better protect the identities of victims of sexual assault to encourage them to come forward.

But when she later published a second high-profile case, she received death threats and had to suspend the account for weeks, only to later reopen it and reveal her identity.

Her campaign isn't just about exposing injustice however. She also trying to foster discussions about the importance of consent, and other issues related to gender-based violence.

"The problem is bigger than one person, one crime, an incident, it is even bigger than ten incidents, the problem is about the way we look at women. We never take crimes against women seriously. Because the blog followers continue to increase, messages from sexual violence victims increased even more, I believed that I did something good, but it should not stop after the arrest of just one person (Zaki). It should not stop because there are still a lot of girls and victims who could not believe that people have started speaking out and that things are being taken seriously."

Video Transcript

NADEEN ASHRAF: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- When Cairo student Nadeen Ashraf started an anonymous blog to expose sexual harassment in her inner circles, the 22-year-old never knew it would spark Egypt's #metoo movement. She's been selected as part of the BBC'S 100 Women of 2020. So far, she's exposed two high-profile sexual harassment incidents, and her blog is now a voice for hundreds of women across Egypt-- a country in which, in 2013, a United Nations survey suggested 99% of women experienced harassment.

NADEEN ASHRAF: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

INTERPRETER: I had this idea. I'm a student. I don't have a voice in the media. I cannot change legislation. So the first thing I thought about is social media.

I wanted to express myself and have my voice heard by the people. I wanted to expose someone who I know had committed the crime of sexual harassment. And I knew this to be a crime, and something is wrong. But no one was talking about it, as everyone believes it to be a shame to talk about this, and we should not talk about this in our Arab society. I was so tired and annoyed, and refused that this had been happening every day for years. And I had to do something about it.

- Ashraf's first case was when she anonymously exposed a student from a wealthy background, Ahmed Bassam Zaki, who was later jailed and is currently on trial for sexual assault. That case prompted the government to approve a bill to better protect the identities of victims of sexual assault, to encourage them to come forward. But when she later published a second high-profile case, she received death threats and had to suspend the account for weeks, only to later reopen it and reveal her identity. Her campaign isn't just about exposing injustice, however. She's also trying to foster discussions about the importance of consent, and other issues related to gender-based violence.

NADEEN ASHRAF: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

INTERPRETER: The problem is bigger than one person, one crime, an incident. It is even bigger than 10 incidents. The problem is about the way we look at women. We never take crimes against women seriously. Because the blog followers continue to increase, messages from sexual violence victims increased even more. I believe that I did something good, but it should not stop after the arrest of just one person.

It should not stop, because there are still a lot of girls and victims who could not believe that people have started speaking out, and that things are being taken seriously.