31 December 2019

First things first, I am very sorry for the amount of distress that F.F went through, I am sorry for my unintentional role that might have been consequential to the assault she was subjected to by B.S and I admit to and regret being irresponsible with partying that night.

Barzakh, 31 December 2019.

Ma3azef organized a new year's eve party at Barzakh in Beirut and I was invited to play.

At the time I hadn’t met B.S personally before. We had only made a track together over the internet in 2014 before the party and we got to meet and hang out for the first time that night.

B.S was a walking disaster at the party; from pushing N.E who was part of the Ma3azef crew at that time during a sound problem during my live set, to fighting with several people to reeking of toxic masculinity all over the place. He cursed me for the fact that the audience gathered for my DJ set (it was more of a playlist really) instead of them seeing his live set that was happening at the same time on another floor. I took it as a bad joke. We then agreed that he will improvise some rap with me during my live set on the upper floor later on. I take it as a bad decision.

It was new year’s eve and the first big party right after the October protests had erupted in Beirut. Frustrated masses with the need to vent. Very cheap and very bad quality alcohol. Everybody who drank got abnormally drunk that night and sick the morning after.

On a different note, F.F showed interest in me while dancing to my DJ set which she does mention in her testimony, and I reciprocated that interest so we danced and hung out in a sweet and intimate way. At no point did I force myself upon her nor touch or kiss her against her will and everybody who was there that night could see that we were partying together in a very amicable manner. N.E's written testimony confirmed this and many witnesses can also confirm if needed.

B.S was also lurking around. And in my poor judgement that night, I failed to realize how aggressive of a person he is, continued to be friendly with him and did not make the much needed decision of cutting him off.

During the party, N.E from Ma3azef herself said that she has access to a dealer in the party and offered to bring me something. I agreed. She got me that something and she deduced its price from my artist fee later. That was how I got the pill; from the party organizer. I took half of it and shared the other half with F.F and once again in my very poor judgement, I was sharing something nice and ecstasy inducing with her. She did not show any sign of refusal. I had absolutely no intention of bringing any harm upon her. That pill was not something I brought from home nor premeditated beforehand; and it was not something that B.S had any idea about to begin with nor did I discuss it with him at any point. I did indeed hand-feed her the half pill. That was a move of affection since we were flirting all night. I was by no means hostile. I did not aggressively kiss her afterwards so she'd swallow it as claimed. I insist that I did not use force. Nevertheless, I regret sharing anything with her and I will always keep to myself if I choose to do drugs in the future.

F.F and I carried on partying, dancing and flirting.

Later that night around 4 am, I was hanging out with F.F when at some point B.S said that he has some coke and asked if we would like to go take some on the staircase and we both agreed. We went up the stairs willingly to take a line of coke; no one was forced into anything and no arms were pulled as alleged.

At that point there was plenty of drunken lust. B.S starts making out with F.F, she tells him to fuck her, he rips off her stockings and he grips her body which later I learned that it gave her bruises. She did not ask him out loud to stop touching her, on the contrary, she was very lustful in the heat of the moment and it did not look to me like something that needed to be stopped. Yet, I have absolutely no doubt that she was sexually assaulted by that man since she informed me the next day that she had asked him to stay away from her several times earlier in the party. I wish I had better judgement and enough lucidity at that moment to assess the situation better, recognize her vulnerability and intervene accordingly.

That heated moment of dirty talk, touching and grabbing goes on for less than a couple of minutes and before it could go any further, a man in the building sees us so we had to get up quickly and go back to the party. We went back to the first floor and F.F disappeared. Around 9 am when we were about to leave, I saw her passed out on the couch and M.A, her employer at the time and the owner of Barzakh, next to her. I approached her and asked M.A for her number to check in on her the next day. He said that he will send it to me later and told me just let her sleep for now and assured me that he will take care of her. M.A went back home that morning and left her passed out all alone on the couch in Barzakh.

I left with B.S and he sexually assaulted me at his place. Screenshots of the messages I sent him after that morning are below. After that conversation, I highly doubted myself, got mad at myself for drinking too much, decided to take full responsibility of actions and bear the consequences of not going back home when it was necessary. I faint-heartedly buried the whole thing and continued to interact with B.S in social situations and through common friends. I even re-uploaded the song we had made together in 2014 on my SoundCloud a few months after the incident because he had deleted it off of his after I confronted him on Facebook messenger.

On January 2, F.F messaged me on Facebook saying that she lost her phone, that she blacked out and that the last thing she remembers was us going up the stairs together. She asked me whether she fell asleep on the stairs or if she came down with us. She had no recollection of anything past the point where we went up the stairs and B.S ripped off her stockings. I told her what happened. She said she had bruises, I told her that it could possibly be how hard B.S gripped her body. She said that she was not conscious when she swallowed that half pill I’d shared with her (because of how much she'd had to drink as far as I understood) but did not accuse me of shoving anything down her throat nor harassing her nor sexually assaulting her. Screenshots of those messages are also below. She spoke to me with an open heart about her experience of that night. I spoke to her with an open heart about my experience of that morning. I told her how I was violated by B.S as well. She was the only one who knew; not even my closest of friends nor my partner did know. She acknowledged the hurt he caused both of us. I asked her what we should do. She said she needed to rest to be able to think clearly. I said I needed to rest as well.

The day after, I reached out to check up on her. I asked how she was feeling. At that point the switch against me had already happened in her head. She blocked me. I assumed that she was feeling really bad and didn’t feel like talking so I let her be.

A couple of weeks later, my friend J.K tells me that F.F accuses me and B.S of conspiring together to drug and rape her. I immediately asked for a meeting with F.F herself, M.A (owner of Barzakh) and N.E and A.H who worked for Ma3azef at that time. I was very angry at the accusation. I impulsively became less empathetic and more defensive. I attempted to prove that I did not drug her to facilitate a rape as she imagined by saying that if I wanted to drug and rape someone, I wouldn’t use MDMA because it’s actually a stimulant and I would put something in their drink instead of between their lips because they can very simply spit it out. She instantly came up with a new accusation that I held her against a wall, choked her, shoved a pill down her throat and grabbed her neck till she swallowed it.

(Note that the accusation of choking later metamorphosed into an accusation that I kissed her aggressively till she swallowed it in her online statement.)

I totally snapped and called her a liar because the absurdity of the allegation was beyond my ability to remain composed and stay compassionate with her. I argued further that it makes absolutely no sense that I would want to rape her because beyond drunken flirting, I don’t actually sleep with women to begin with because I’m not sexually interested in vagina. I stated it as a fact but it seems like she took it as an attack on her sexual orientation. I also said that with time she will learn that sometimes we do very stupid things when we get drunk (ex: taking drugs we would have preferred not to take, having drunk sex, etc.) and stressed that I, obviously, keep making the same mistakes all over again as well but I choose to take responsibility and try to do better next time. I said that it took me years of self-abuse in the party scene in Beirut to learn that I make horrible decisions when I'm overly drunk. Sadly, what she seems to have understood that I meant by all of this is that she's new to the scene. My tone was quite aggressive, I admit, seeing I was being accused of having plotted for a rape with the man who assaulted me a couple of weeks earlier by the only woman who actually knew. I was blinded by anger and disbelief. Yet I neither intended nor attempted to degrade her with any of my arguments.

My behavior during that meeting was a very impulsive and foolish reaction on my end and I wish I handled the meeting more gracefully. Nevertheless, at no point did I call her a liar for saying that she was sexually assaulted by B.S and actually offered to testify with her if needed. She insisted that it was a conspiracy. It was a dead end and there was nothing further I could do at that point. The meeting ended unresolved and neither Ma3azef nor Barzakh followed up to investigate the matter.

This is the first time I am ever accused of something of that sort. I was never involved in nor accused of inflicting any harm on a woman (or a person for that matter) before or after that incident. I've always been extremely proactive for women's rights and I've always been and will continue to be super vocal about it. I’m incredibly sorry for what F.F went through that night. I'm very sorry I wasn't able to protect her, but I wasn't able to protect myself either.

After F.F published her testimony, I tried to get her number from friends to apologize to her privately about what she's been through, my irresponsible behavior during the party, my aggressive tone during the meeting and perhaps remind her of my part of the story, but was told that she doesn’t want me to have her number so I have no choice but to go public as well.

I would unconditionally apologize a million times over and over again for my actions and my involvement whether direct or indirect in this much pain that she feels, but I will not apologize for something I did not do, whether it be conspiring to rape her or force-feeding her a pill by means of choking or aggressive kissing. I made many mistakes, but I am not a rapist nor a sexual assaulter, nor have I ever exercised any form of violence against anybody. I genuinely wish that one day F.F fully heals and is able to see that I meant her no harm.

I remain fully open for any further questions or an investigation on the matter.

Thank you for reading.

Aya Metwalli