A case of four men, two Emiratis and two Arabs, of taking a woman into the desert, drinking and raping her has sparked concern among women in the small Gulf country after the men’s defense lawyer, a woman, put forward an argument that the woman was drinking and smoking with them before “having sex with the men.”
The lawyer said the charges are unfounded on the grounds the woman first said she was raped by 6 men because she was drunk.
She said the woman had also said during hearings that she smoked and took off all her jewelry while she was being raped.
“The lawyer also referred to a medical report showing that there was no evidence of rape. The lawyer then asked for the acquittal of the defendants,” the Arabic language daily Emarat Al Youm said.
The unidentified woman had told police she was leaving a hotel in the capital at night when two Emiratis, including her friend, stopped and offered her a lift.
Instead of taking her home, she told the court they treated her roughly inside the car and forced her to come with them to a desert area outside the city.
There, they raped her and then invited two other friends, from another Gulf country, to also rape the woman.
Women are angry because they believe the court will side with the defense because there are no noticeable signs of rape.
Mona Hassan, a Tunisian doctor living in Abu Dhabi who has worked with rape victims in the city, told Bikyamasr.com that “it is the unfortunate reality that the men will most likely get off because they were not overly violent and got the woman drunk before forcing her to have sex with them.”
She said that under Emirati law, without a discernible violent entry, there “really is no case. Not to mention the fact the woman was drunk, which is already a step against her.”
Making matters worse still, other female activists argue is that two of the defendants are Emirati nationals. Courts in the past have been unwilling to punish Emirati men for violent crimes against women, much to the anger of women’s activists in the country.
“We need something to be done in this kind of thing. The court is saying that a man’s word is stronger than a woman’s, who faced the ultimate violation of her body,” women’s rights activist and social worker Aziza AbdelHamed told Bikyamasr.com. “This could set a precedent that means men can find women alone and rape them and not face jail because nobody can corroborate the woman’s story. It is horrible.”
Violent crimes against women in the UAE are not uncommon, but women in the country argue police do too little when women come forward, often demanding to know what they said, or what they were wearing before filing a case against the perpetrator.