When Egyptian girl Ghadeer Ahmed opened up in British newspaper The Guardian on Monday about how a video of her dancing was used as blackmail, she taught a very needed Cyber Bullying Using Women’s Body 101 to the world.
As a teenager, Ahmed sent a video – recorded during one of those innocent, cheeky and fun girls’ sessions – of herself dancing to her boyfriend. The latter threatened to post it online when they broke up and Ghadeer found out years later that the video was indeed online when she started getting bullied by other men because of it.
Her response? She took the video and reposted it herself on Facebook with the headline “My body is not a source of shame. I have nothing to regret about this video.”
As a result of a lack of laws targeting cyber-crime in Egypt, the offender, Ahmed’s ex boyfriend, got sentenced to a year in prison for “defamation,” which as she notes in her open letter, is presuming that a teenager dancing (wearing clothes but not veiled) is shameful. Instead of condemning the bullying, threatening and harassment that Ahmed and hundreds of victims like her still receive, it is the private life of a women being exposed that is condemned.
“‘Honor’ is still judged to rest upon women’s conduct and sexual activity. So we are inhibited from publicly expressing our sexuality and bodily autonomy. This context means that a woman’s private life can be used against her if someone threatens to make it public,” Ahmed writes in her open letter.
The feminist explains that YouTube and Facebook do not make it easy to remove videos for the simple reason of gender-targeted cyber-crime. Hence Internet shaming and cyber harassment is practiced at different levels all over the world particularly against women, and it needs to stop.
“Fighting against this in solidarity requires a sensitive conversation that supports our rights and does not accept violations as part of non-Western culture,” she writes in The Guardian. Ghadeer Ahmed is part of the founder of Girls Revolution that you can find on Facebook here.
WE SAID THIS: You should also read How to Talk to Your Child About Cyber Bullying.