It is now against the law in Saudi Arabia to physically or sexually abuse women. The new law covering abuse, both at home and in the workplace, was approved by Saudi Arabia’s cabinet this week. Until now, laws in the country considered violence against women and children to be a private, family matter.
Domestic abuse is not openly discussed in the country, but in April the first public service campaign against domestic abuse was launched. The ad shows a woman with a black eye wearing a niqab. Below the closeup of the woman’s face, text reads: “Some things can’t be covered – fighting women’s abuse together,” The new law can impose a jail term of up to one year and a fine from roughly $1,300 to $13,000, according to the Saudi Gazette. The news also reports that the Saudi Minister of Culture and Information released a statement saying “that there are provisions in the law to provide victims of abuse shelter and psychological, social and health care as well as necessary assistance, besides taking legal action against the abusers and punishing them.”
When thousands of women despair and anger builds on lifetime imagining a world that is safe at a time, when our daughters assaulted in the most brutal ways and our sons learn that unimaginable cruelty is the only way of becoming men! When we all wonder if political work of crafting frameworks to understand women’s suppression and loss of liberty through sexual terrorism has remained imprisoned within the covers of book ‘freedom, independence and justice’? What does it mean to suddenly find that all lost and to discover that our words and work have cascaded and least transform the legal senses?
Following the Delhi gang rape saw a series of rapes in the country from Punjab to Pondicherry, from Bengal to Bangalore. Well in many cases, we see a three-year or fifty year old harassed not able to stand the post trauma stress or sexual harassment by the authorities too. Either in small towns the community elders asks the father to marry her off to the rapist or a safe note ‘suicide’! It’s apparent by now there is indeed a culture of rape and non-humans that covers India. The ancient tradition of looking upon women as slave to use at will is strengthened by the modern tradition of interests of the bribing class.
What bothers me when and where do women seek justice?
Why can’t the laws be as harsh as Arab laws?