Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Saudi Arabia: Why we punished rape victim

The Saudi Justice Ministry Tuesday issued a "clarification" of a court's handling of a rape case and the increased punishment -- including 200 lashes --meted out to the victim.

The case, which has sparked media scrutiny of the Saudi legal system, centers on a married woman. The 19-year-old and an unrelated man were abducted, and she was raped by a group of seven men more than a year ago, according to Abdulrahman al-Lahim, the attorney who represented her in court.

The woman was originally sentenced in October 2006 to 90 lashes. But that sentence was more than doubled to 200 lashes and six months in prison by the Qatif General Court, because she spoke to the media about the case, a court source told Middle Eastern daily newspaper Arab News.

Al-Lahim told CNN his law license was revoked last week by a judge because he spoke to the Saudi-controlled media about the case.

"Currently she doesn't have a lawyer, and I feel they're doing this to isolate her and deprive her from her basic rights," he said. "We will not accept this judgment and I'll do my best to continue representing her because justice needs to take place."

The man and woman were attacked after they met in Qatif on the kingdom's Persian Gulf coast, so she could retrieve an old photograph of herself from him, according to al-Lahim. Citing phone records from the police investigation, al-Lahim said the man was trying to blackmail his client. He noted the photo she was trying to retrieve was harmless and did not show his client in any compromising position.

It is illegal for a woman to meet with an unrelated male under Saudi's Islamic law.


First you're raped - 14 times - by 7 men, then you get punished for being irresponsible enough to actually get raped. This is madness... although, unfortunately, not at all surprising.

Time to freak out yet?

8 days till my first exam.
I have an eight hour one on Thursday and one lasting five or six on Friday.

After exams I'll be working two weeks, before going home.
I haven't been home since Easter, and it'll be fun to be back there.
Only my parents have redecorated. A lot.
I probably won't know I'm home.

I'll also attend four pre-Christmas parties (Norwegian : julebord) in two weeks.
The first is this Saturday.
Two will be on a boat. We'll be celebrating my mother turning 50, and my aunt's husband will be 60.
We'll be lots of people and we'll be going to Germany and back.

I have to buy new shoes as I don't have dress-up-and-look-pretty-shoes.
I have no time to go shopping.
(never thought you'd hear a girl say that, did ya?)

Another few days and my eye will start twitching..
At least I'll survive no matter what happens.
That's become my new mantra when it comes to exams.
..I'm not sure that's a good thing..

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The art of being happy.

I think an important part of being happy with yourself is knowing, and accepting, that you can always be better.

Very few of us will ever be entirely happy with our lives or who we are. We'll always think that we can do better, be better, that there's so many things we'd rather be doing.

I think the first step towards becoming who you want to be in the future, is accepting who you are today. We all know, no matter how 'good' we are, that we can always be better.

We need to realize that who we are is good enough, it's a starting point - and that the person we want to be is within reach.

The first thing we need to do is accept ourselves. The person I am today, is my starting point. It can go either way. I can't change the past, but I can make a difference in the future - to myself and to others.

It's ok to be who you are. The past, the present... it's the future we can control.