The arrest of a British woman allegedly raped in Dubai mirrors harsh Middle Eastern attitudes to women and sexual assault

[A human rights attorney in Dubai informed me on my last visit there that in the past ten years he has handled more than a thousand cases of rape of Iranian women, mostly visitors to Dubai, to no avail, as the UAE courts pay no regards that this is a serious crime and often see the women as “prostitutes” who deserved what they got.]  Now this story”

On New Year’s Eve, a young British woman of Pakistani descent was allegedly raped by a hotel worker at an upmarket hotel in Dubai Marina. She had been celebrating her engagement with her 44-year-old British boyfriend during a three-day romantic getaway to the city. But, based on news reports, their pleasant weekend apparently turned into a nightmare. She reported to the police that a hotel employee followed her into a restroom and raped her.

A woman should be able to report a rape to the police anywhere in the world and to expect them to investigate the charge. In some parts of the world that will actually happen, even though police officials are not always as sensitive or responsive as they should be. But for those of us who live in the Middle East, it is really not that clear what we should do if we’re sexually assaulted, abused, or raped. That is because in so many instances, officials either don’t take us seriously, or – as this case frighteningly illustrates – we may even be charged with a crime ourselves.

It became clear in this case that the Dubai authorities were not really i… >>>

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