Fatima Fouad, former director of Barzakh, publicly accused regional musician Bashar Suleiman and Beirut-based Egyptian singer Aya Metwalli of drugging and raping her on December 31st, 2019.
Fatima Fouad decided to step forward this week to expose them, releasing a statement on the evening of June 27th on her social media platforms narrating the sexual assault inflicted on her by Metwalli and Suleiman.
She addressed her statement as “a public service announcement” to the media in its different categories, the entertainment industry in its different branches, and all institutions, associations, and feminist, artistic, and cultural organizations.
“As God is my witness, this is my testimony,” she said in her post in which she narrated the tragic drama that has triggered a wave of outrage.
On the night of December 31st, 2019, Fatima Fouad was working a shift as the director of Barzakh, a local library and coffee shop in Hamra, where an opening party was being organized in collaboration with Ma3azef and Ballroom Blitz.
Fatima had her first encounter with Bashar Suleiman during soundcheck when he came up to her while in mid-conversation with another participating musician and said, “We have work to do, you can fuck her later.”
Angered by Suleiman’s obscene comment, Fatima threatened to end his gig for the night if he continues to act disrespectfully.
She tried to avoid him for the rest of the night but he persisted in following her around, trying to initiate conversation.
At a certain moment, allegedly wanting to apologize to her for his previous insult, Suleiman crossed the line again, making physical contact by touching her waist. Fatima screamed at him and went to tell a number of her friends about the incident.
Later that night, after the performance of Aya Metwalli, Suleiman approached Fatima again, telling her that Metwalli asked to see her.
When she met with Metwalli, the latter began flirting and “asked” if she could kiss her. “I agreed, embarrassed and reluctant,” said Fatima in her testimony.
Throughout the night, Fatima and Metwalli exchanged a few kisses and small talks until Metwalli forcefully drugged her with MDMA, a drug “known to affect mobility and focus”.
“Dizzy and nauseous” from the drug and alcohol, Fatima sat on the stairs until she was approached by both Suleiman and Metwalli who dragged her upstairs. Suleiman repeatedly hit Fatima while raping her.
“He lifted my dress and hit me violently on my bottom and ripped my stockings. I remember vividly the sound of the smacks, and the tearing of the fabric,” Fatima expressed in her statement. “I dissociated from my body as if I were observing myself from above,” she continued.
A few days following the incident, Metwalli and Fatima met in a meeting organized at Barzakh with two members of Ma3azef. Metwalli tried to paint herself as an innocent victim by using Fatima’s sexuality against her.
After Fatima’s testimony went public, Metwalli reportedly claimed that she is “also a victim.”
961News tried to reach both Bashar Suleiman and Aya Metwalli for comments to no avail.
The managing team at Ma3azef disregarded at first Fatima Fouad’s testimony and reportedly insisted on covering Suleiman’s acts. Ma3azef’s manager Maen Abou Taleb reportedly pressured many of his employees, which ultimately led to divisions among them.
Ma3azef then issued a statement of solidarity with Fatima Fouad, condemning the crime inflicted on her.
Ballroom Blitz and Barzakh took at once the proper stance in response to Fatima’s public testimony, issuing a statement in her support, expressing their shock, condemning the assault, and cutting ties with Ma3azef and the accused artists.
“We have a collective responsibility to make our creative industries and spaces safe for everyone,” the Ballroom Blitz stressed.