Saudi Rape Victim Sentenced
Often, I’ll see Muslims jump to the defense of declared Islamic states with statements that these states have low rape statistics. Unfortunately, while those statistics may be low those very same statistics may be false. The problem lies in the fact that statistics are formed on reported rapes. I argue that these countries create a safe haven for rape by creating an atmosphere that would make it extremely difficult for women to report rape.
Take this latest rape case as an example:
A Saudi girl that was victim to gang rape has been sentenced to 6 months jail and 200 lashes. The 200 lashes are double her intitial sentence for being alone in a car with an unrelated male.
According to Arab News, the court said the woman’s punishment was increased because of “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.”
The case has spurred debate amongst Saudis regarding the judicial system:
Reports of the story triggered debate about Saudi Arabia’s legal system, in which judges have wide discretion in punishing a criminal, rules of evidence are shaky and sometimes no defense lawyers are present. The result, critics say, are sentences left to the whim of judges.
The judges, appointed by the king, have a wide discretion in handing down sentences, often said to depend on their whim. A rapist, for instance, could receive anywhere from a light or no sentence, to death.
In this particular case, the court not only banned the attorney from representing her but have confiscated his license and called him up for a disciplinary hearing.
The new trial also nearly doubled the sentences of the men convicted of the rape. Their sentences now range from 2 to 9 years.
You can read the whole story here.
This particular situation not only sets an example to other women who are raped to think twice about reporting it but it also threatens any lawyer that may have to defend a rape victim. Beyond that it punishes the girl for calling media attention to her case, thereby making it difficult for reporters/media to report on such cases out of moral dilema.
So the next time we think about how these countries have low rape stats – I want us to also think about the safe haven these countries create for rape.