On Thursday (May 27), a Twitter user (@breaking_a_rib) posted a thread on the microblogging platform, sharing testimonials of multiple women who have been preyed upon by a student of NIFT Kolkata. The student has been identified as one Arib Fakih.
According to the dating app Bumble, Arbi is 19 years old. “I like cats. (I) want someone temporary (maybe) to fulfill your craving for intimacy? swipe. You have colored hair / can ruin my life / enjoy experimenting with fashion? swipe. Want to coexist with good music? Swipe,” reads his bio.
Victim share stories of sexual harassment and coercion
Several women have now come forward to speak out about the sexual harassment that they endured at the hands of Aeib Fakih. One of the victims recounted, “24 July 2019. He will still deny this ever happened if someone asks him, but he has apologised for it to me in private. He knows what he has done. He knows what he does is a pattern. It’s always a pattern. The alcohol. The manipulation. The coercion. I thought it was okay to meet Arib since all his friends were home and that it wouldn’t lead to anything happening between us.”
She added, “I had just found out that he had cheated on me with multiple women throughout the measly –
2-3 months I was with him prior to this. And I was pretty adamant on not doing anything with my ex, yet. We get high. I am okay with him being high. He tries to get me to be alone with him. I deny him. He puts on a fake look of anger. And I leave the room to sit with his friends instead.”
“Everything turns dizzy real quick. Before I know it, time flies and he wants everyone to leave. I wanted to leave with his best friends. I so wanted to leave. I remember everything despite being so fucking drunk I was about to pass out. I was holding onto his friend’s hand telling him to drive me to the hotel where I stayed with my mum. Arib insists on “sobering me up. And then, they’re gone. I’m alone. He helps me throw up in the washroom. I’m still on the verge of passing out. I said no. I said no so many times. He still undressed me. He still told me that it would sober me up ‘faster’. It was raining that day. I remember everything,” she concluded.
Arib Fakih lured minor girls, demanded sexual favours
In another case, the NIFT Kolkata student tried to sexually exploit a 14-year-old girl using emotional manipulation. Despite the girl being his sister’s age and a juvenile, he pestered her to meet him.
The girl narrated, “He started asking me to meet him. I refused initially and told him that I am in school and I have classes. He asked my age and his sister and I are of same age and yet he asked me to meet him.” The victim pointed out how Arib wanted her to wear tennis skirts while she came to meet him. “After he knew my age, he asked me if I can cuddle him because he’s sad. Asked me if we can hangout at someone’s house. I was a minor all along and he knew this,” she added.
The anatomy of a predator
The accused kept on coercing her into meeting him. She was creeped out by his actions that she blocked him. However, Arib kept on creating fake accounts and began demanding sexual favours from her. The incident has now left the victim traumatised. Other women have narrated how Arib would pretend to be sad and emotional. And once then try to comfort him, he would ask the girls to masturbate imagining him, and talk about their sexual experiences.
Another woman also narrated how under the guise of friendship, Arib tried to force himself on her. “Once I was at his house helping him with an assignment which he needed help with, he pushed me on his bed and held me down and tried to kiss me while I was literally turning my face away from him. He felt my breasts and was rubbing his crotch on me and started to dry hump me when I repeatedly told him to stop and reminded him how what he was doing was so wrong.” She said that on being confronted by her boyfriend the following day, Arib claimed that the relationship was platonic.
Following the controversy, Arib Fakih has now deleted his social media profiles.
Update: Following these allegations, Arib Fakih has denied the allegations and approached the authorities.