Egyptian TV Host Laughs Off Mass Sexual Assault as "Fun"

Mass sexual assaults have plagued Cairo's Tahrir Square in the wake of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's inauguration on Sunday. One TV host attributed these attacks to people "having fun."

As a correspondent at a pro-Sisi Tahrir channel reported incidents of sexual harassment on Sunday, host Maha Bahnasy interrupted with giggles to say, "Well, they are happy. The people are having fun." Bahnasy later took to her Facebook page to say she was misunderstood: "I was, along with my guests, commenting on people's joy, not the harassment."

Despite Bahnasy's attempts to downplay the assaults, one piece of gruesome evidence surfaced today that will be hard to ignore. It's a YouTube video that allegedly shows a 19-year-old girl being raped by at least seven different men during the inaugural celebrations on Sunday. According to The New York Times, the video shows "a police officer with a gun in his hand struggling against a crowd of men to extricate the victim. A black shirt covered just her shoulders, her backside purple and black with bruises as the frenzied assailants tore it off. Moments later, stripped completely, her limp and reddened body was carried into a waiting vehicle."

The alleged attack shown in the video is one of at least 27 that Egyptian police are currently investigating. Authorities believe there is some coordination going on between groups of attackers — police told the AP that "groups of young men [are] consistently luring potential victims away from densely crowded spots before encircling them from the rest as they assault them."

Neither the president's office nor police will comment on the video specifically, but police arrested seven men today (likely the ones appearing in the video) for "harassing several girls." In his inaugural address, Sisi promised he'd create an "inclusive" Egypt going forward.

[Image via AP]