After the recent arrest of a British woman in Dubai who was charged with having extramarital sex after she reported being gang-raped, U.K.-based charity Detained in Dubai is warning British tourists and expats living in the United Arab Emirates not to report incidents of rape to police. Citing “racist” preconceptions against Westerners and “manipulation when it comes to criminal accusations,” the charity warns that women who report being raped are “likely” to be detained.
“It’s about the laws for one, but it also comes down to the application of the law,” explained Radha Stirling, founder of the charity. “They do assume women are ‘looking for it.’ There is the social perception that if a woman drinks alcohol, she has consented to it. And there’s also a racist mentality of thinking, ‘She’s British, so she was probably drunk and asking for it.'”
“I wouldn’t report a rape there if I were raped myself,” Stirling added.
The most recent incident involves a 25-year-old British woman who was allegedly raped by two British men while on vacation in Dubai in October. After she reported the rape, she was arrested for violating laws prohibiting extramarital sex and reportedly had her passport confiscated to prevent her from leaving the country. Her alleged rapists, meanwhile, flew home to the U.K. without incident.
According to Stirling, the woman is likely to be charged in the case and potentially held in the country for a long time — even if not found guilty. “In 2008, a women in Fujairah who had broken ribs and evidence of violence from being raped after her drink was spiked was charged with sex outside of marriage and held in the country for eight months,” noted Stirling.
Using an online petition, the victim’s mother has been able to raise the money estimated to be necessary for her daughter’s legals fees. If found guilty, the woman could face imprisonment, flogging, or stoning.
Read the full story at The Independent.