Update September 14th 2018, Deutsche Welle revealed that it is investigating a sexual harassment case, but not giving names.
In an internal memo, the channel revealed the ongoing investigation.
“The Deutsche Welle administration has been informed of possible sexual harassment,” the memo read, “the immediate investigations showed that the charges presented could be classified as credible. The accused is no longer working for Deutsche Welle”.
It continues to explain that after the sexual awareness campaign in the workplace, initiated by the General Director Peter Limburg, a female employee reported an incident. The channel cannot reveal names or more details about the incident for legal purposes.
Disclaimer: This is an ongoing story, with many layers to it, which remain unclear to the public. That said, we are using the story as an example of an important topic that needs to be addressed; consent vs. harassment. Whose side you are on is something up to you.
Since the #metoo movement, women around the world have been more comfortable to come out with their harassment stories, especially those who are victims of harassment from people of power. Ironically, the accused men and women are slowly trying to portray themselves as the victims of personal attacks.
One of the latest accused men is Egyptian journalist, and self-proclaimed liberal, Yousri Fouda. Fouda has been known as the journalist who speaks his mind and defends minorities. Subsequently, he won the public’s respect for his courage. He eventually had to flee Egypt after the 30th of June revolution following the accusation of being a Muslim Brotherhood supporter when he spoke against the killings and jailing of their supporters.
Now, a Twitter hashtag #يسري_فودة_متحرش (Yousri Fouda is a harasser) is trending after a young Egyptian woman accused him of harassment. In a long and detailed post by Dalia Alfaghal, she shares her story with the public.
While we prefer not to shed light on any issues without having our facts straight, we chose to feature this story due to the argument it causes; harassment vs. consent. We will be providing the little-known facts we currently have and based on it – irrelevant to the subjects of the story, or whether it’s true or not – discuss the issue as a whole.
The issue behind Dalia’s story, again, whether it is true or not, lies with men giving themselves the right to make sexual advances towards vulnerable women – and in this incident, a woman he knows for a fact has zero interest in him.
With that said, it is worth noting that according to a large-scale study on false sexual harassment claims done in the UK; research for the Home Office suggests that only 4% of cases of sexual violence reported to the UK police are found or suspected to be false. Studies carried out in Europe and in the US indicate rates between 2% and 6%.
Moreover, Dalia has absolutely no reasons to attack Fouda. Some claims, as well as Fouda’s, state that this is a war waged against him by the government supporters. Keep in mind that Dalia, due to the controversy surrounding her sexuality, is not the person anyone would use to tarnish someone else’s reputation, nor will she agree to do anything for anyone in Egypt.
To give you a little background on the victim of the story; Dalia is a lesbian Egyptian woman whose sexual orientation became a topic of debate after she posted on her Facebook a message from her father congratulating her on her new relationship. Due to numerous cyber-attacks and death threats, Dalia fled Egypt and has been living in Sweden, where she has been studying.
(Buzzfeed video sharing Dalia’s story)
Going back to the incident, Dalia received a job offer from Fouda to work with him in his new show in Berlin, Germany since he needed someone with her qualifications. Dalia and Fouda have been in contact before receiving the job offer, and it is important to mention that, according to Dalia’s second statement, he knews about her sexuality.
Fouda offered Dalia the plane tickets and promised her accommodation at a hotel for the duration of her interview. Upon arrival, Fouda told her she would be staying at his place since he could not be offering any hotel accommodation. Dalia agreed.
The reason why we chose to mention Dalia’s story and her sexuality is crucial since Fouda knew about it and it was the reason why Dalia agreed to stay over at his place. As a lesbian woman, she felt safe to stay over at a man’s house who claims he is supporting her and is offering her help. It would never cross anyone’s mind that a heterosexual cis-gendered man would make any sexual advances towards a lesbian woman, whom he is claiming to support.
For those who are putting the blame on her for agreeing to go to his house, Dalia states that she has done numerous couch surfing before, and in Europe, culturally, this is acceptable.
Tragically enough, this is exactly what happened.
According to Dalia, Fouda made numerous sexual advances towards her, which she declined. Thankfully, Fouda did not force himself on her and left her alone. So according to Dalia’s own admission, Fouda knows what consent is.
So what is the issue at hand? These advances should not have been made, to begin with!
Since there are two sides to every story, Fouda commented on the accusations.
Fouda stated that this is a war made against him to tarnish his reputation. He left the whole issue, and only denied the statement claiming there were three other lawsuits filed against him in Germany. He did not deny any of the other claims.
Most women in Egypt know this to be true; having men of power giving themselves the right to harass or make advances towards you, then when the woman speaks about it they pretend to be the victim because they didn’t do anything without their “consent.”
This goes back to the issue of consent is not the answer! Consent is merely the factor that makes these sexual advances legal vs. illegal, but not unacceptable.
The saddest part about this story is, most women are not as strong as Dalia. Dalia was strong enough to face a whole country hating on her for her sexual orientation and survived. Dalia was strong enough to get out of this situation without being unharmed. Dalia was strong enough to share her story. Most women are not.
Whether you agree with Dalia in her life choices, and who she is, her story is valid, and it is important to take another look at the story – even if you do not support her. Excluding its validity, and the people in question.
We have contacted Dalia for a statement, and we received the below feedback.
“Thank you for writing to me. I am currently looking for legal representation before I say anything to the media. Until then I will not have anything that could put me in a sensitive situation.”
Update 15th of September, 2018: In a previous version of the article, it was mentioned that the job offer was given to Dalia after her story went viral, but we later learned that it was before the incident. However, this does not change the fact that Fouda knew about Dalia’s sexuality.