Regional solidarity with #SherineAbdelwahab after domestic abuse claims

The singer’s former husband denied the accusations raised against him and vowed to pursue legal action against her.

Egyptian artist Sherine Abdel-Wahab has shaken the entertainment industry after revealing disturbing details of alleged abuse by her ex-husband Hossam Habib on Wednesday.

Speaking to Egypt’s ON television channel, the popstar said her former husband, who is also a singer, was “possessive” and “mentally abused” her throughout their relationship.

Abdel-Wahab’s statements emerged months after she came under the spotlight for shaving her head, a move that she now revealed was a response to the abuse she allegedly faced.

Arab artists and media personalities took to social media to express their solidarity with the singer following her statements.

“All the love and support for an artist full of feelings in all her details,”tweeted Lebanese singer Cyrine Abdelnour.

In another tweet, Imane Ibrahim, Lebanese journalist at Qatar’s Al Araby TV said:”Upset with what happened to Sherine Abdel-Wahab, I remember the picture of her kissing her husband’s hand on the stage, her words yesterday evening on how she used to be a servant for the one she loves..” said Ibrahim.

“It is clear that her partner was immoral I hope that this crisis will pass with minimal damage, love for Sherine,” added the journalist.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Yassine, social and political activist called for the need to follow up on Abdel-Wahab’s mental state.

“I sympathise with her in the face of the violence, injustice and insults she suffered, Hossam Habib morally ended after ending artistically,” added Yassine.

In addition to physical assault, Abdel-Wahab also accused Habib of trying to control her wealth and career.

“Hossam Habib asked for 10% of my job profits…I would rather marry a monkey than return to him again and I don’t want to know someone named Hossam again,” said Abdel-Wahab.

She also apologised to her fans for lying to them about her state, denying that she ever had a loving relationship with Habib.

ّIn a voice message to the Arabic version of Entertainment Tonight (ET), Habib denied Abdel-Wahab’s statements and vowed to take legal action against his former wife. He added that Abdel-Wahab’s remarks are a form of blackmail.

As the the two artists continue to exchange accusations, Abdel-Wahab’s comments have become the latest incident to shed light on the issue of domestic violence in the Middle East.

A 2020 report consisting of 55 studies encompassing 138,692 participants found that the highest rate was reported under psychological abuse, comprising 48.6%.

The region has also recently witnessed disturbing cases of gender-based violence.

Earlier this month, virtual protests highlighting a lack of measures to protect women in the Middle East and North Africa region sprouted up across social media under the hashtag #GeneralWomenStrike (اضراب_نسائي_عام#).

According to the World Bank, MENA is the second highest in the world in terms of gender based violence, with at least 35% of women experiencing violence by an intimate partner.

Globally, one-in-three women experienced physical or sexual violence at least once, mostly by an intimate partner, per data published by the UN.

The rate of violence can also reach 70% in some countries, which was reflected during the lockdown period during the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020.

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