I am a relentless feminist, believing that both men and women should benefit from the same opportunities. In this sense, I think that both men and women should receive the same punishments too. I understand that traditionally, society is patriarchal and the belittling of women causes outrage because many generations of women have already been subject to this. But then again, because of such order, men still think they can get away with objectifying women for their own means and pleasure. I also believe that a woman should be able to feel powerful, which is akin to masculine energy, and that’s ok. But it is then somehow wrong for a man to feel effeminate and ‘frightened’ of strong-minded women.
Yet, sexism still occurs, and it is entrenched in laws across the world, even if you are merely a tourist, you still pay respect to the customs of the country you are visiting, and these laws will still affect you. Therefore, if you intend to smuggle drugs into Indonesia, I hope you appreciate that you will most likely receive the death penalty. But to have a law affect you from something out of your control isn’t just, especially when it concerns you being a woman who has been raped by two men.
A British woman reported that she had been raped while in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The female tourist could face a prison sentence for extramarital sex if the claim of rape isn’t proved.
Rape is not sex. Sex is a consensual activity. Rape is a form of violence. Just because your weapon is a penis doesn’t engender it any different to a gun or a bread knife.
Of course, there are people who make false allegations of rape. I sympathise with the falsely accused, as such an allegation has far-reaching consequences on all areas of their lives. But to make a false accusation in a country whose laws are notoriously indifferent towards women and sexuality seems outlandish. Only a traumatised, attacked woman would make such a claim if it were serious. Just eight years ago, Alicia Gali was jailed for eight months for having an unlawful sexual relationship, despite that she reported being drugged and raped by three co-workers. The medical proof of sexual activity doesn’t even seem to be required in order to make a judgement, after Roxanne Hillier was jailed for three months after being alone with a male employer with no sexual activity having taken place.
In the United Arab Emirates, for the man to be convicted of rape, the accused must actually confess or alternatively, four adult men testify as witnesses. The rigidity of the laws for female victims compared to that of a rapist is horrifying. I genuinely could not imagine living in such a backwards-thinking country; one where skyscrapers are abundant and brands are always modern, it doesn’t make sense for women to still be so persecuted.
I get incredibly passionate and angry about sexism in my own country, the UK, until I realise that being cat-called or groped is a small price to pay for men to believe they have control over a woman’s body. I have the advantage of taking such vulgar individuals to court, knowing that as the victimised claimant, I will be protected by the safety blanket of our judicial system.
NB: I realise that women can rape men. Men can also rape men, and women can rape other women too. I don’t actually know if sharia law prevents a woman from raping a man…would the rules completely reverse in this situation? Well, I assume so, anyway.
For an interesting article and comment feed on this sensitive subject, see here.