The worldwide outcry over the barbaric sentence imposed by a Saudi judge on a woman known as “the Qatif Girl” has made a difference. King Abdullah has “pardoned” the victim (whose sentence was more than doubled when she spoke out) as an act of benevolence and good will in preparation for the Haj (more here).
Although the Saudis protested that they resented outside interference, they eventually did cave to the pressure. This is good news for one woman who was twice victimized, and it is reason to celebrate. Your voice matters, small steps can make a difference.
But still, it is a victory for one woman only. King Abdullah also proclaimed that the original sentence was just. The problem is other victims will continue to be abused unless an outcry is made in each individual case:
Fawziya al-Oyouni, a woman’s rights activist, welcomed the Qatif Girl’s pardon, but said more was needed. “We don’t want to rely simply on pardons. We need harsher sentences for the guilty parties and we want to feel safe,” she said, citing another rape case this month (here).
That means we will need to continue to raise our voices and take what small steps we can every time we learn of similar cases.
The woman still is in danger “honor killing” by her brother or some other family member (here).
(See previous post here.)