These Are Our Allies

It took me about twenty years to admit to my mother that I was a victim of sexual abuse; the aggressor a baby sitter she had entrusted me with during the summer time when I would go to stay with her.

What I suffered was relatively minor, and yet it still left permanent scars that I know affect me to this day.

Every situation I think is somewhat unique.  For a young male to be sexually abused by a female, there is the definite bias by many that the boy wouldn’t complain, discrediting the claims.  I guess, in America, if you’re a boy who’s been sexually abused, it has to be from a Catholic Priest, or it’s not the real deal.

And yet, we still have it pretty easy.  I count myself lucky in a lot of ways, and in my experiences of this nature, again I know I dodged the worst of what a sexual abuse victim can experience.  Unlike women and girls who have been raped and sexually abused, I don’t have anyone questioning my sexual behavior, I don’t have misogynist assholes claiming I was begging for it, and I’m not having to face an uphill battle of the burden of proof in the court room (even if I had wished to face my abuser in court, that day will never come.  As I understand it, she joined a cult for a while, got severely addicted to drugs, and killed herself years ago).

Women get a raw deal.  Not only are sex crimes notoriously difficult to prove in the court of law, but they must also withstand the embarrassment that our national prejudices heap upon them; sexual double standards, unrealistic expectations, etc.  And no, no one “asks for it”.  You can probably tell by the lack of words being used to that effect before hand, and the tears afterward.  Those might be really big fucking clues.

It’s a raw deal, and one I will never be able to rightfully tolerate, but this… this goes beyond the pale:

A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is punishing a female victim of gang rape with 200 lashes and six months in jail, a newspaper reported on Thursday. The 19-year-old woman — whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms — was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for “being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape,” the Arab News reported. But in a new verdict issued after Saudi Arabia’s Higher Judicial Council ordered a retrial, the court in the eastern town of Al-Qatif more than doubled the number of lashes to 200. A court source told the English-language Arab News that the judges had decided to punish the woman further for “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.” Saudi Arabia enforces a strict Islamic doctrine known as Wahhabism and forbids unrelated men and women from associating with each other, bans women from driving and forces them to cover head-to-toe in public. Last year, the court sentenced six Saudi men to between one and five years in jail for the rape as well as ordering lashes for the victim, a member of the minority Shiite community.But the woman’s lawyer Abdul Rahman al-Lahem appealed, arguing that the punishments were too lenient in a country where the offence can carry the death penalty.

In the new verdict issued on Wednesday, the Al-Qatif court also toughened the sentences against the six men to between two and nine years in prison.

The case has angered members of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite community. The convicted men are Sunni Muslims, the dominant community in the oil-rich Gulf state.

Melissa McEwan, rightly I think, calls this outright terrorism.  It does, after all, send a severe and terror inducing message on two levels.  To women it says, ‘If you try and stand up for yourself, we will put you down,’ and a similar message, one could argue, could be being sent to the Shia minority, a message that shows that there will always be unequal justice between the majority and the minority here.

It saddens and sickens me.  As I’ve said, what happened to me was minor, and yet at the same time, I have some insight what it is like to have been sexually abused.  The powerlessness, the anguish, the self guilt.  It is difficult enough in this society, supposedly a free and equal society, for victims to come out and accuse their aggressors, but the added turmoil this poor young woman must feel I think goes beyond my capacity to grasp.

She had the temerity to stand up and accuse those who raped her, something that can be incredibly difficult for someone to do, and she was punished for it.  Even doubly so for questioning the verdict handed down.  I can only imagine an incredibly strong and admirable person surviving that.

What rubs salt in the wound, for me at least, is knowing that these are our Allies.  Those who wanted to go to war against Iraq talked about how Saddam treated his people, those who talk about war against Iran talk about how Ahmadinejad supposedly treats the Jews.

WHY THE HELL AREN’T THESE PEOPLE IN AN UPROAR OVER HOW ONE OF OUR ALLIES ACTS?!  WE HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO SPOUTS OFF AT THE MOUTH ABOUT FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY AND YET THIS IS WHAT COMES OUT OF ONE OF HIS MOST CHERISHED ALLIES!

This is ludicrous.  Our alliance with Saudi Arabia is a stain, a continued proof that the administration does not mean what it says when it talks about spreading freedom around the world, not when this is the shade of those it clutches closest to its chest.

My one question, when does this shit stop?  When do we stop getting pushed to the brink of war by our president refusing to sit down and talk in a civil matter with so called enemies, while at the same time embracing those who are the very embodiment of those ideals that cut against the grain of that which we hold more sacred.

In the land of our “friends” a young girl was punished more severely than most of us will ever know for being a victim.  When does this bullshit end?  Someone, please, tell me.

4 Responses to “These Are Our Allies”

  1. Karen says:

    Is it horrible? Most Definately! But for the love…where does our President come in to play? Like he’s personally liable? And you want him to kick a political “ally” out for this? How many allies do you think the US would have if a country looked at the SICK killings of children by mothers who are found incompetent or NOT guilty as well as all of the heinous crimes that occur in our own country and go unpunished. And OH! I guess President Bush is responsible for that too! Quit blaming a President…we as a society need to take responsiblity for our own failings or LACK of action and quit pointing fingers at a single man. What can YOU do? Then do it–if everyone would take action instead of running their mouths and pointing to a President we’d solve a whole lot. And as for that country, it’s unfortunate, but we need to fix our own first before we outcry at another. What are YOU doing responsible guilt-ridden citizen? Talking talk or Walking a walk that will evoke change?

  2. That’s just par for the course for the Saudis. Consider this excerpt from a report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom:

    “In one case, the Commission was told of a foreign domestic worker who had become pregnant after being raped by her employer. She was subsequently imprisoned because it is illegal for female foreign workers to become pregnant in Saudi Arabia if they are not married.”

    http://www.uscirf.gov/countries/region/middleast/saudi/saudiReport.pdf

    And if the ruling of this judge amazes you, guess where he looks to for controlling legal precedent:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7645118/

    Saudi society is saturated with this crap. It’s truly endemic:

    http://www.asecondlookatthesaudis.com

  3. Thanks for all the linkage, Bill (and sorry your comment didn’t post right away; lots of links gets posts caught up in the spam filters, or at least the moderation filters).

    As for Karen, do I blame bush for the girl’s treatment? No. Do I blame him for an alliance with a government that openly treats its people as such, you sure bet your ass I do, especially the Bushies who are particularly close to the Saudis. What I offer is a simple proposition. Either we start demanding a standard of behavior out of our allies, or we stop using failures to meet such standards as a justification to go to war or to make enemies of other nations.

  4. Oakland says:

    Yep, Bush’s buds! Saudis blew up WTC and now beating women rape victim with a whip. Sounds like a Bush wet dream.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. As Gods: Spreading American Values Across The World » Comments from Left Field - [...] As I read about Ms. Jones’ story, I was forced to recall another story that occurred in Saudi Arabia. …

Leave a Reply to Bill in Chicago Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook