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You’re kidding. Right? Right??

November 20, 2007

A married Saudi woman was going to meet an unrelated male to pick up a photograph he had of her when she was younger. The photograph did not show the woman in a compromising or revealing pose. The two were kidnapped when they met, and the woman raped by seven men. She was tried and convicted, and sentenced to 90 lashes. Yes. Read that sentence again. SHE was tried and convicted and sentenced to 90 lashes. Pick your jaw up off the ground and keep reading.

On appeal, the woman’s lawyer was thrown out and disbarred for talking to the media. Even more, when the woman herself spoke to the media, her sentence was increased to 200 lashes and six month in prison. Lets recount what she did to get such a harsh punishment, if I may: (1) met with a man not related to her for an innocent purpose; (2) got gang raped; (3) spoke to the media about her treatment. Six months and 200 lashes sounds absolutely appropriate, right?

Now, before I rage about how terrible this makes the country of Saudi Arabia look, please permit me one brief diversion. Reading the article, I went to the website of the National Organization of Women, expecting to find them up in arms over this absolutely ludicrous treatment of a fellow woman. Alas, not a single mention. Read that again as well. The leading feminist organization in the biggest democracy in the world cannot be bothered to care about a woman who is being punished for (1) being out on her own, and then (2) punished again for speaking out against gang rape.

What else is so important to NOW that they don’t have the time to once mention this unnamed Saudi woman? Let’s look. At 8:34 P.M. on 20 November 2007, the leading news article on NOW is about holiday shopping. To be fair there are also articles about immigrant rights and “economic justice.” And articles about WalMart choosing not to sell contraceptives. And what they call an “anti-woman wacko” presidential appointment.

If anyone still needed proof that today’s feminist organizations have become increasingly irrelevant to women outside of America, this story is all you need. For women whose biggest “feminist” issue is the availability of the morning after pill at your local superstore, NOW is your group. For the woman who gets jail time and public beatings for speaking out against gang rape, not so much.

OK. Now that that rant is done, this story really shows what kind of a place Saudi Arabia is for everyday people. Ninety lashes for being in public with a man not related to you. Getting disbarred as a lawyer for speaking to the media. What a terrible place to live. Cultural relativism works to a point, but to say that a culture that treats women like this is just “different” than our own is ridiculous. A culture that punishes rape victims for speaking out on their crime is not different; it is worse. A culture that tries both the rapist and the rape victim at the same time is not different than our own system of justice; it is worse.

Saying these kinds of things makes people feel uncomfortable, and I think that discomfort is what keeps groups like NOW from speaking out more. But the way I see it, there is no question in this situation. They are wrong.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. andy permalink*
    November 20, 2007 11:31 pm

    I guess this may serve as a wake up call to some, but there’s a reason why I make fun of every developing country without mercy: they’re all festering shitholes. 1 decent city does not make a country not an absolute dive, so I hate to hear stuff like “oh Budapest is nice in the spring.” I don’t care. Hungary, by rule, is a dump. This pretty much applies for at least 90% of the world. You just never know with these countries. One day you decide to take a vacation to the Ukrainian country side, perhaps visit Donetsk in the mining country, and the next thing you know you’re burried in rubble. It’s a total crap shoot.

  2. Katherine permalink
    November 25, 2007 8:13 pm

    “But the way I see it, there is no question in this situation. They are wrong.”

    I completely agree. Bravo for saying so.

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