Saudi Rape Victim Sentenced, US Remains Silent

Congress is out-of-session on Thanksgiving recess, the White House is silent and judges in Saudi Arabia have sentenced a 19 year-old Shi’a woman to 200 lashes for being gang-raped. It is claimed that although her rapists have received actual prison sentences, she is being punished for using the media to try and get her sentence reduced. The judge says it’s because she was in the car of an unrelated man, but really I’ve never heard of such a thing coming out of Saudi ever from friends or colleagues, so I’m skeptical. I see ***HONOR CRIME*** in big flashing Vegas ***GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS*** lights over this ruling. I love this legalized honor crime garbage that comes floating along through the Islamic court system. It’s such a bastardization of the Shari’a. Suddenly Shari’a is suspended in favor of some kind of patriarchal blood lust. Oh you know what it smells like, we can smell it in non-Muslim societies, too…
What we have here is two things: the first is a woman who is brutally raped 14 times and almost killed in the process and a judge who feels that his power was somehow undermined, and thus this girl has to be punished further. Why doesn’t he just rape her, too? She’s already getting 100 lashes for the first 14 rapes, why not just throw her away? Treat her like a prostitute? Throw her out like a dirty rag. The men who ravaged her spend 1-5 years in a Saudi jail, they’ll get out. She’ll be nearly beaten to death and once they’re done and she’s conscious again, she’ll never be able to get the scars off of her back: no surgeon will be able to remove them. No one will be able to get the scars of a gang rape from her mind. And what about her femininity? How has that been destroyed? Mentally and physically?
If they want to punish her, hasn’t she been punished? If we think like her judges, her gang-rape was her punishment. The total destruction of her self, her honor, her body, was her punishment.
Nowhere in the Shari’a does it say that a woman who is gang-raped 14 times should be the one who is punished. Punishment for a zina crime requires four witnesses, and of course, what man is going to admit to rape? In addition, the Shari’a makes allowances, that no hadd punishments should be carried out if there is any element of doubt (i.e. coercion).
Rape = coercion
Being raped 14 times is not a zina crime.

I’m so completely confused as to how this woman managed to be responsible for getting herself raped not just once, but 14 times, but that is apparently the astounding logic of the Saudi courts. This is also the law of the land where 15 girls died in a fire in Mecca after the religious police would not let them into the streets without their abayyas. I’m fairly confident in thinking that not even Wahhabism in it is austere sense of justice would not rule that a woman being raped, brutalized, and almost murdered is her responsibility.
And the United States is yet again silent on human rights and on women’s rights because when it comes to oil, a barrel of crude is worth more than a barrel of a woman’s blood.

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About Elle Alexandra Jerome

A. Scheherezada Jerome is an Anglo-Ottoman Instructor of Islamic Studies at York College of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Dickinson College in 2003 with a self-developed major in Middle Eastern Studies and Spanish. In 2004, she graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies with an M.A. in Islamic Societies and Cultures. Finally, in 2005 she finished her second M.A. in Gender and Identity in the Middle East (Summa Cum Laude) at the University of Exeter. After finishing the first stages of her postgraduate work, she was an intern in Women’s Affairs at the Embassy of Afghanistan. In addition to her academic work, she manages her non-profits, The Shaherazade Project and Women Against Crimes of Honor. She’s also the coordinator for postgraduate students in the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. Currently, in addition to her teaching duties she is the editor of Kohl an anthology of Muslim-American women’s writing to be published in 2007 and is working on research for her second novel, Hürrem Sultan.

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