“Belly dancing video destroyed my life,” says Egyptian teacher
Aya Yousef’s husband divorced her and she lost her job after a video of her belly dancing went viral. (PHOTO: Twitter screenshot)
Aya Yousef says her life was nearly destroyed after video of her belly dancing on a daytime Nile river cruise went viral on social media.
Aya, an Egyptian teacher, was on a pleasure cruise with colleagues last month, and in the video, she can be seen dancing with male colleagues.
By Western standards, her dancing is very tame. She is also fully dressed and wearing a headscarf in the video, which another teacher had taken without Aya’s knowledge or permission.
The video, believed to have been recorded last year, has ruined the mother-of-three’s life, as conservative critics online slammed her behavior. She was expelled from primary school where she taught Arabic for several years and her husband divorced her.
She said the video was “a violation of [her] private life,” and stressed that she had not danced in a public institution or in front of students. She is now planning to sue the person who filmed the video.
“My life was destroyed because of the video of an unscrupulous person who tried to tarnish my reputation and brought the camera closer to me only to show me in a bad way,” Aya said in a statement.
“I really made a mistake because I was happy and played with people who weren’t honest. People bullied me and insulted me. I lost my job, my husband, my house and my mother fell ill. My family was affected by what happened.
Women’s rights advocates in the North African country have hit back at Aya’s critics, saying she was the victim of a witch hunt.
Dr. Nihad Abu al-Qumsan, director of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, offered Aya a job and promised to help her file a complaint.
“We will ask the court what the correct dance rules are – so that all women follow the correct rules if they dance at their brother’s or son’s weddings or birthdays,” Al-Qumsan joked.
In a show of solidarity with Aya, a vice principal from another school uploaded photos of herself dancing at her daughter’s wedding.
Aya has since been given a teaching job at another school, which she says has helped her regain some of her self-esteem.
“The decision of the director of education to send me back to my job made me feel that part of my life was starting to return to its nature and that part of my dignity was regained,” he said. she told the Egypt Independent.