Assault of 5-yr old girl outrages public

A 5-year old girl was sexually assaulted Tuesday by a security worker at a sports club, according to the girl’s aunt Raghda el-Saeed on her personal Twitter account, @RaghdaElSaeed.

The incident has attracted attention in the mainstream media, and has raised criticism regarding the constraints of prosecuting sexual crimes against children.

Saeed said that the girl told her mother that the worker pulled her into the men’s bathroom at the Wadi Degla club in Tagammu el-Khames, and “produced white urine,” then left once he heard a noise.

The manager of Wadi Degla was not immediately available for comment.

Saeed added that the girl recognized the man, however he had shaved his moustache and his hair.  She said the club’s initial response was to accuse the girl of imagining the incident.

At the police station, officers tried to convince the girl’s father to name the crime in the report as “stealing,” but he insisted to accuse the worker of indecently assaulting his daughter, Saeed added.

As Saeed tweeted the girl’s story, a thread of angry comments was posted to condemn the incident under a hashtag that translates to “the crisis at Wadi Degla.”

Concerning the legal procedure in the girl’s case, Saeed wrote on Twitter “If there are not any physical signs of assaults on the girl, [the man] would be acquitted,” adding that the only punishment the worker may get is being fired from the club.

“What happened to the five-year girl is an explicit harassment, and a medical examination cannot prove all kinds of harassments; like verbal,” said Fatma Salah, the head of the Legal Unit of the Cairo Center for Development told The Cairo Post.

“In such cases, where children are involved, the child law should be considered and not the penal code,” Hani Helal, the Secretary-General of the Egyptian Coalition of Children Rights, told The Cairo Post Thursday.

In the girl’s situation, the crime could be described as either “exposing children to danger” or “sexual exploitation,” said Helal. He noted that exposing children to danger, stipulated in Article 96 in the Child Act stipulates a punishment of at least 6 months in prison and a fine of 2,000 EGP ($286,)  while the Sexual Exploitation crime as mentioned in Article 291 of the Penal code stipulates a minimum five year sentence.

Helal continued, “Under both crimes, the penalty should be increased against the security worker as his job is designed to protect members of the club, especially the children.”

Salah also noted a rise in this kind of crimes targeting children, where some cases end by the death of the victim.

A 5-year old girl called Zeina in Port Said was murdered in November 2013; she was thrown off a rooftop by men who had attempted to rape her. The men were sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Salah added that the reduction of punishments and the delay in the issuance of the verdict against abusers lead to the increase of such awful acts against the children.

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