Saudi journalist Abeer Mishkhas highlights the irony of Saudi Arabia celebrating ‘Eliminating Violence against Women Day’ while facing the inanities of the story of ‘Qatif Girl’. Ms Mishkhas is particularly upset by the allegations coming from the Ministry of Justice and various current and former judges about the woman’s behavior prior to the attack. These allegations provide no evidence and only dubious support. Ms Mishkhas is far from amused….
Violence Against Women Is Still a Problem
Abeer Mishkhas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Sunday, along with the rest of the world, Saudi Arabia celebrated a day dedicated to Eliminating Violence Against Women. Newspapers carried articles and editorials on the importance of the day and TV naturally gave the day a lot of coverage. Aside from celebrations, speeches and good intentions, we need to remember that the problem of violence against women and children has not gone away; it is very much with us â€” in the Kingdom and everywhere else.
We cannot but see the irony of the day against the backdrop of the continuing coverage of the Qatif girl and how her story has turned from a clear case of rape to a bigger and wider one that at its core includes terrible violence.
The girlâ€™s case which has attracted international attention, including comments from American presidential hopefuls, remains unresolved. We note a shift in public discourse concerning this case; it has effectively turned from a gang rape â€” in which the rapists were the perpetrators â€” to a case of seduction in which the girl is the seducer and guilty party. Some scholars have expressed their belief that the girl and her â€œpartnersâ€ deserve the death penalty. Notice please the use of the word â€œpartners.â€ The word â€œpartnerâ€ usually suggests a voluntary link or association.
To take the discussion further, we must wonder about the description of the girlâ€™s appearance which was in a statement from the Ministry of Justice. The statement says she threw her clothes aside. Can we accept such a statement? What exactly does it mean? We learn that this claim â€” that she threw her clothes aside â€” came from the rapists themselves. And of course the rapists would say anything as an excuse and when it becomes a case of her word against theirs, menâ€™s words will naturally be believed.