When she took a trip to the United Arab Emirates, the 25-year-old could never have foreseen the horrible turn her visit would take. The woman went to Dubai this past March on business and was raped. Thinking that the police would help her, she reported the rape to them… and ended up in jail, her passport stripped from her. She spent three days there before she was allowed to use a phone to call her family. They, in turn, called the Foreign Ministry and the Norwegian Consulate, who were able to get the woman released into their custody. They took her to the local Norwegian Seaman’s Center, where she stayed for 6 months until her sentencing.
If that’s not enough to outrage you, her sentence will be: she will be spending 16 months in jail. Alone, in a foreign jail, serving a sentence for having the temerity to get herself raped. Oh, and for drinking alcohol. Mustn’t forget that. The woman told her supporters:
“I received the harshest sentence for sex outside marriage, harshest sentence for drinking alcohol and on top of that I was found guilty of perjury.”
Oh, right – perjury. Her attacker? He is serving just 13 months. He must have confessed to the rape because that – besides a rape being witnessed by 4 adult Muslim males (as if they’d rat out a buddy) – is the only way he would have been arrested for the crime. So, perjury? Insult to injury. And since Norway has no extradition treaty with the UAE, it is unclear whether she can be rescued from this harsh fate.
The UAE is ruled by Sharia Law, which boasts some of the strictest laws in the region. No alcohol, no sex outside of marriage, no drugs (even some prescription drugs), no hand-holding or other signs of affection between unmarried couples and (of course) no homosexuality. Now, one must bow to local law and customs when visiting another country, but one must also expect that when they are the victim of a crime, they ought to be able to find redress and aid, not be thrown into jail.
This is not the first time a foreign woman has been treated this way in Dubai. Earlier this year, a 27-year-old Australian woman, who was working at the Starwood hotel chain, was roofied and raped by three men who worked with her. She went to a hospital for help but they turned her over to the police, who charged her with having illicit sex outside of marriage.
This, right here, is a major reason that nobody has to worry about Sharia law being imposed in America – nobody would put up with it. It’s bad enough here, with the rape culture in which we live, but Sharia law is just plain crazy. However, what can you expect from a culture that values women so little, controlling and demonizing them? The Middle East is the cradle of civilization, where goddesses like Ishtar and Inanna were once worshiped and, women, their earthly representatives, were treated with honor and love. How petty of the men of that region to now crush their women and value them as mere chattel, allowing the harshest penalties for them, even if they are they victims.
That a woman from another country and culture would be held to their laws in such an unfair way is repellant. It may be that the United Nations could get involved – let’s remain hopeful that they would be able to get her home if they do step in.