Fighting Back Against Sexual Assault in Egypt

On an otherwise reasonable evening in July, more than 1,000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, for the culmination of the 2014 Unreasonable Institute. They came to see 11 ventures present their solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

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In this powerful presentation, Aspire founder and CEO Basant Motawi recounts the harrowing personal story that prompted her to launch her Cairo-based venture. Aspire combats sexual assault in Egypt with self-defense classes for women, awareness campaigns in popular gathering places, volunteer patrols that partner with police to target high-risk neighborhoods, and legal and psychological support services for victims.

To date, Aspire has seen a 20 percent reduction in sexual assaults in areas where it operates. And Motawi is now working on the launch of a nationwide for-profit arm of self-defense centers for women.

About the author

Unreasonable Institute

Unreasonable Institute

The Unreasonable Institute arms entrepreneurs creating solutions to the world’s biggest social and environmental problems with the mentorship, capital, and networks they need to do so.

  • Danielle Hernandez

    This is the most amazing video I have ever watched. For this woman to be able to stand up to the men of the country she lived in is a beautiful thing. Despite how traumatized she was by being sexually assaulted she had the strength to reach out and help other women to prevent sexual assault and make Egypt a safer place for women.

  • Ryan Geisel

    This was a very powerful video. You could tell that she was very into her topic and wanted to make a real difference in the world. Unlike most people that we see talking about current events, she has lived through it.

  • hj2

    I was amazed and motivated by her. How she is trying to fight against and trying to let other many people in the world know how sexual assault in eygpt is very touching. I hope entire nation would help and slove this problem as if it was their family.

  • Mizu4TheWin

    Such motivation for such a good cause. I’m so glad that this exists. There can never be enough of this kind of thing.

  • altruax0

    Wow, you use great statistics and I didn’t realize how much it was a problem in Egypt. This is a really good video to motivate people to help this cause. I like your use of an anecdote and it helps build everyone’s understanding of the problem. Thanks for video.

  • Glassborow

    I love this video, and it’s motivated me a lot, its always a great thing to see when someone is so passionate about helping others. Raising awareness about sexual assault is important, I didn’t know it was such a big issue in Egypt until now and I hope awareness continues to be increased for such a good cause.

  • amandaclaire94

    I never knew that this was such an awful problem that plagued Cairo. I love her enthusiasm in her speech and her dedication to the organization. It is very empowering for me as a woman to watch this and see what other women on the other side of the world go through. I am glad that there are people helping them to get through this difficult time, and also to try and prevent this from happening.

  • Jessica Andrew

    Thank you for sharing this video. I have never realized that Egypt had such a problem with sexual assault. This girl is inspiring. She is taking something awful that happened to her and using it to help other people not experience what she did. I am glad that she is helping these people through this time that has to be hard on them. This is a great organization and this is making a huge difference if many girls lives.

  • awither1

    I agree. It is great to see someone creating awareness and making a difference for a cause they believe in.

  • l2yza

    Great cause and it saddens me to hear these statistics and stories. However, I feel like changing the social aspect of how women are treated and perceived over there is a more permanent solution, and it wasn’t really addressed.