It is scary stuff, even if you haven't been drinking, even you are and have always been celibate while you've been single, even if you are married. Because the truth is, the laws of this country are not designed to protect women they way they are in other parts of the world. There are things that are illegal here: drinking alcohol without a license, having sex outside marriage. And there are too many stories of women who went to the police after they were assaulted and ended up in jail. It is also worth noting that a woman can be charged even if she was not drinking, even if she had previously been celibate, if she is unable to prove the attack. That is, she can be charged for the sex she was forced to have.
A YouGov Siraj survey conducted by email and released earlier this month revealed more than half of women asked would not report a rape. The poll revealed another main issue: “Arab women are less likely to report sexual assaults to the police owing to concerns that the allegations could damage their family’s reputation,” said Iman Annab, the chief executive of YouGov Siraj.
It is just the way it is. Not fair, not right, to those looking in, to those who come from countries where so much has been done on this front; but the law, all the same. For a deeper look at the issue, try here and here.
It is something a British couple on a mini vacation in Dubai last week to celebrate their engagement found out the hard way. Things went wrong on New Year's Eve, when the woman was attacked in the washroom at a hotel, and continued to go further south the next day, when they went to police to report it. Both have been charged, released on bail, passports confiscated; the embassy is assisting.
Major Abdul al Kadi al Banni, director of the Jebel Ali police station, said of the charges against the woman and her fiance for illegal drinking and sexual intercourse: “The woman confessed that she had sexual intercourse with her fiance and that she had alcohol. We cannot just ignore such an offence.”