Women, Rape & the Law in the UAE

dubai44705074The UAE hosts ultra-modern architecture, advanced technology and the image of a progressive Arab state. But beneath that facade, similarities with the West come to an abrupt dead end. Underlying its up-scale Western appearance, the UAE is a conservative Muslim State that adheres to an array of laws and rules the Western world finds unequivocally deplorable, particularly in the area of human rights, and most notably, the rights of women.  Read more

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64 Responses to Women, Rape & the Law in the UAE

  1. Amanda Bailey says:

    I am absolutely appalled by some of the blogs that follow an extremely unbalanced and biased article on the treatment of women in the UAE. I have been in the UAE for 2 years (previously Jordan and Bahrain), and although is more conservative than both the other countries, it is nowhere near as sexist or discriminatory as made out in the initial blog. I have women friends who have been here for 10, 15 years and I mean to stay and most of us work with Emirate women, many of them in high positions, and they live as normal, sociable, friendly people as in all nations. The government make it very clear on their stance on outside-marriage sexual relations, public shows of affection and dressing scantily and remind the public through the media continuously of their standpoint. It just amazes me that people don’t adhere to their laws and when they do get caught (regardless of who spilt the beans) everyone cries discrimination. The UAE government turn a blind eye to many things outside their laws very often, but they sometimes decide to drive home to bigoted, shallow-thinking, fooolish people, that they won’t tolerate the flouting of their authority.

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  2. Chabin says:

    In most parts of SW Asia and Egypt, if you don’t wear a hijab, you are basically a slut, just burning to seduce the pure and innocent Muslim men, who are so clean and handsomely irresistible and such great lovers. They will rarely admit it in words, but that is the underlying attitude manifested in actions. If you do wear a hijab but walk around unaccompanied, you get slightly more respect. If you are wearing a hijab and with your husband, brother or father, the male company gets respect and probably no one will say anything to you. I would never speak to a covered woman who was with a man because the man would accuse me of disrespecting her. Of course, I’m generalizing, but not by much.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    For the person who said international teaching is not for me I would like to point out that I have spent three years in Egypt working in a very successful school and coming out with excellent references. I loved my work but not Cairo itself. I am not the only woman who shares this philosophy. I have also worked in Germany and love working in Europe. I am merely pointing out that in my experience Some Egyptian men were rude and impertinent, the women were lovely and hard working.

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  4. moietmesmots says:

    I Egnomad, I’m a female teacher and I’m moving to Abu Dhabi to work, I would like to talk to you… To get advices, is it possible?

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  5. teacher in UAE says:

    I am a female Western teacher who’s been teaching in the UAE for 7 years. Reading these comments mostly supports what I already knew anecdotally. I’ve had an uneventful stay in the UAE but that certainly isn’t true for everyone who comes here.

    Here’s what I think you can safely take away:
    – only a few school employers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are worth working for.
    – people’s experiences in the UAE can vary widely.
    – the authorities behave differently in Dubai and in Abu Dhabi, despite the fact that both cities are in the same country.
    – there is a caste system in full operation. Emiratis are always at the top. This has many ramifications.
    – if you get raped, reporting it under Sharia law will endanger you.
    – don’t leave your home country if you are unwilling to live under laws that are foreign and disagreeable to you.
    – women face a different (and I’d say greater) set of risks than men do, no matter where they live.

    Egonomad’s July 27 post gives a list of warnings. Although I nodded my head at most of them, I was taken aback by parts of #6 and #7 about medical treatment. I have never been asked to disrobe by a male technician, never been asked about my menstrual cycle (except by my own GP), never been inappropriately touched by a male doctor/chiropractor (although I do go to a male chiropractor in the UAE regularly). (However, my aunt was inappropriately touched by a male dermatologist in North America a few years ago!) In fact, most doctors have a female attendant in the room during the exam so that they are not alone with a female patient. My health care insurance definitely covers women’s health procedures. (Although he’s right about leaving the country if you get pregnant outside of marriage.)

    Look, many users of ISR must have worked in nations that do not share Western values, laws and practices. Not even all Western nations share the same values, laws and practices. My sister worked briefly in Switzerland and was freaked out by some Swiss laws and the way her behaviour was scrutinized there. Many Westerners are appalled by the USA’s gun laws and retention of the death penalty. And so on. No other nation on earth has exactly the same practices as your home country does, so if you decide to work internationally, then you must decide which restrictions or practices would be deal-breakers for you, and then choose your path accordingly.

    The only “stupid” thing would be to make an uninformed decision or to fly in the face of local norms and expect there to be no consequences. I know how I could get in trouble in the UAE. I could also have gotten into trouble in the other countries I’ve worked in, including my own. I have to make my own informed judgments.

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  6. egnomad says:

    Women travelling on their own to the UAE for a new teaching position can reduce risks of legal issues by being aware of the possible risks. As some of the comments here indicate, the perception of what is “sensible” varies. Women coming to the UAE single, divorced, separated, or without their husbands are vulnerable, if not to rape then to misconceptions around “what kind of woman” leaves her family to work abroad. You may be perceived and treated differently. A few practical tips:
    1) Keep your home cellphone active until you get UAE status, as you cannot get a UAE sim card without it – and you need a phone to call a taxi.
    2) Get support systems in advance if you know people in the UAE. The first few weeks/months are the toughest, as you deal with bureaucracy and a new job. Having no phone, car, or internet connection makes you feel less safe. If you are lucky, you will make friends and neighbours who will help you through the transition. There are black market phones for example – but they are illegal. And it’s tough for men too – but they can easily walk a few blocks to hail a taxi.
    3) Take care with your relationship with male friends – taking lifts, etc. Being accompanied by a male can make things easier – at the bank, for example, or while negotiating for rental accommodation if you have a housing allowance. But your “buddy” relationship may be misunderstood by some colleagues.
    4) Do not travel without a firm offer and contract. Many schools will offer temporary contracts and reassurances that they will send you back at forth across the border every 4 weeks and that this will be “No problem.” It’s no problem for them – it’s a great way for schools to save on limited visas. It also lets them save paying you for holidays. They will choose the times for you to travel. And if you get caught for working illegally, it is a problem for you.
    5) Ask at contract stage for details of your accommodation if it is included. Solo women are often relegated the smallest studio apartments, while male colleagues with families coming to visit get 2 bedrooms. Women in relationships outside marriage should maintain two apartments to avoid attracting negative attention.
    6) Ask at contract stage for the exact location and details of accommodation, and availability of public transit. Some schools are now putting new teachers in cheaper areas out in desert suburbs, far from public transit, the centre, the beach, even your school. Taxis will be harder to get and more expensive. Some of these areas are also more conservative, with less westerners, so walking alone can attract attention. Some schools will say they run a bus to school, but it will often be cancelled after a few months with the expectation that you will buy or share a car.

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  7. Earthman says:

    There’s nothing like a gender issue to highlight the differences between Christian and Muslim society and this one doesn’t disappoint. The fact is that women in Muslim countries are second class citizens and women generally are held to blame for cases of indecency rape and mingling. Men on the other hand can do no wrong. Muslim women are brain washed and conditioned into accepting their lot in life and have to claim it’s a honour to be at the bottom – or they will be punished. Punishments are detailed in the Koran, the most common punishment is starvation and this is most often meted out if they decline the sexual advances of their husband (even though he may be 60 years older). Daily surgeries were often filled with females pleading for a note that meant they had to abstain from sex for a couple of moths in an attempt to “legally” keep their husbands at bay. Female servants are considered to be even lower than family members and these poor girls can find them selves chained up and “used” as practise pieces by the older male family members. To Western eyes in many ways Muslim society is very dysfunctional.

    If you are a male you will have a great time in the Middle East, you can do no wrong. If you are a female remember that as a female you will NEVER be the victim what ever misfortune visits you; the legal system out here is unable to comprehend the concept of Female and Victim in the same sentence.

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  8. Writer17 says:

    I find it frightening the amount of justifications above. Yes, it is a different country and it has its norms/values – but it is still not acceptable to treat women (or any person) as stated initially in the article. Part of being an educator is being a role model and advocating for our students, why can’t we do this for our gender?

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  9. egnomad says:

    Good question – and why is a forum for International School teachers degenerating into a hate place? If you believe in “Western” style respect, how can you model it? If you hate Arabic culture, don’t go, but is this the best place to vent?…Which raises more practical points. If you have signed a contract and are headed to UAE :
    1) Do lock down your social media. Expectations of teacher conduct are conservative. Public profile photos of you drinking beer on the beach won’t look good in your 6-month probation interview. Any negative postings about the UAE or Muslim culture can also be considered blasphemy. Don’t be friends with your students, and be aware that your colleagues may not be your “friends.” I even ran into trouble piloting a google+ share group for homework. Don’t upload anything questionable from friends while at school. And yes, depending on your school’s resources, there is a guy in IT who reports to HR, who can check the history on your (school issued) laptop. He’s probably a conservative male, and is salary is shockingly less than yours.
    2) If the school has a teacher residence which it forces you to live in, be aware that the social life of your colleagues can affect you. If their loud party brings in the police, and you have unlicensed booze in your fridge, or a man who is not your husband in your bed, you could be in trouble. Equally, if your neighbour has a moral problem with your friends sleeping over, you could be reported.
    3) If you like to drink alcohol or entertain, apply for your “Red Card” to buy legal alcohol as soon as you arrive. Don’t be shy about asking for the permission forms from HR. It’s a double bind. It takes weeks to process, and in the mean time there are plenty of illegal sources. But they are illegal. Once you are a “resident” (and not a tourist) there is greater pressure for you to abide by the laws of your host.
    4) One of the black ironies of a totalitarian dictatorship is that sexual abuse of “Western” women is surprisingly absent – because if that pizza guy gets into bed with you, he goes to jail. Still, take care as you would in DC, London, or Montreal. On Thursday evenings and Fridays when it is difficult to get a taxi, carry flip flops if you wear heels, and have a public transit pass. Guard your drinks. And consider the cost of those free cocktails on “Ladies Drink Free” nights at hotel bars. They are often frequented by men who would love to get into your passport as well as your pants.
    5) Be discreet about the sex lives of your friends, especially if they are are gay or cohabiting partners. What passes as staffroom gossip at home could put them at risk.
    6) If you are a woman, when you go for visa processing, prepare mentally to be grilled on the date of your last menstrual period by a smiling man in front of an audience of male colleagues and even students, to ensure that you are not pregnant. This happens before you enter the chest x-ray room and are told to take off your shirt and bra by a male technician. Don’t lose your temper. If he finds anything odd, you’ll be sent for a second battery of tests for TB.
    7) Don’t expect your health insurance to cover gynaecological or “Women’s Problems.” Get a good woman doctor through referrals of friends. If you get pregnant outside of marriage, don’t go the the doctor. Go home, or go to Bangkok. And if you have any such health problems within your probationary period, prepare to be unceremoniously sacked.
    6) There is a whole chapter to be written on staying alive in the classroom, where a student query on whether Mary Shelley or Oscar Wilde should be studied can have parents calling in. Students debating the topic of abortion, references to sexuality or “magic” can get you fired. If you can manage all this, and still enjoy teaching, you can come to love aspects of Dubai – because the passion of students for learning is enthralling. But if your new job doesn’t work out, be aware before you resign that if you are within probation you may be sacked on the spot, and make contingency plans to leave at your own expense if you have to. Don’t count on the school to assign your visa if you have lined up a new job. They can avoid doing so until you run out of resources, and can expel you from school accommodation without notice – and the legal “exit” process for banking, car sale, etc can takes weeks while you pay for hotels. Pursuing local labour disputes is a nightmare. And do not try to leave without having them process your passport. If you even go on holiday, once you resign, a ruthless employer can freeze your bank accounts and list you as an “Absconder” – a very serious offence. If you are interested in human rights and the philosophy of “Freedom” and how that works, you will find that you have a lot to learn.

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    • Divenomad says:

      Excellent points of advice….. i agree. BTW….the photos I mentioned in my previous post were taken in China FIVE years prior to my UAE job and when I submitted a complaint to the police about the actions against me, they fully agreed that the firing “cannot happen in this country” because of photos like them.
      Unfortunately, again, unless you are Emirati, very few people will do what needs to be done to assist you if you get yourself into a position that requires help. The legal system is a ridiculous mess and you will not have any realistic means of winning any compensation from any government body……luckily, I audiotaped my interview/meeting with the Minister of Education (I had to go to his office everyday for more than 7 weeks before they gave in and let me have an “audience” to plead my case….and that was on the heels of a two hour wait while the Undersecretary of Education met with him to discuss how she didnt “fire” me and had no recollection of my case although I was after them immediately after the allegations against me came up) and that made my case easier to win.
      Its an unjust, dangerous, and non-friendly environment for Westerners. Emiratis value Western people only as far as your tourism dollars benefit Dubai…..the real problem is the remainder of the non-Emirati flotsam and jetsam from India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the remainder of the Middle East that are collectively aggressive and ignorant to Western people.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Obvioulsy no respect for women! There are thousands of cases unreported and victims have suffered. Avoid the place at all cost.

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  11. Cathy says:

    The UAE has apparently signed the UN Charter of Human Rights. Does anyone know how much the UAE government pays to be a member of the UN? Just curious.

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  12. Expat says:

    I have worked in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia for a total of 8 years. I have never had any bad experiences (certainly no more so than back in England, or Nepal where I have also worked) and do not know of anyone who has, ever, had a bad experience. What is also true is that many western women expect that they can behave in the same way as ‘back home’ – ie get drunk in public, where skimpy clothes. This is against the strict muslim code of conduct and, frankly, is extremely bad manners and deeply offensive to many muslims. If you don’t agree with these ‘restrictions’ then you should not consider working in a muslim country. But do not go and expect that you should be able to behave in the same way as you do at home – this is ignorant behaviour. Wherever we work in world as international teachers, we should respect local customs and culture. None of this is any justification for this terrible treatment of women (especially poor women who do not have a choice about where they work and often cannot return home for years at a time). However, as teachers we have a responsibility to not only respect local laws as they stand, but also to raise awareness among the young. Boycotting the UAE is not the way to do this.

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    • Yazmine majumdar says:

      They don’t respect our way of life in the UK. It can be argued they are equally bad mannered.

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      • Up front with it says:

        Do mean there is no difference between jailing women for being raped in the UAE and a peck on the check in public in the UK which you find offensive?

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        • Yazmine Majumdar says:

          I find the men bad mannered. Women I respect and pity.

          Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2013 17:08:26 +0000 To: yazmajumdar@hotmail.com

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        • Yazmine majumdar says:

          I like a free society against one which uses religion to make up their rules is ridiculous, a lot of these people are corrupt. When i say this I am meaning the men, horrible human beings and a disgrace to their religion. Middle east is corrupt because men govern it and make rules to suit themselves. Sickening in the 21 st century

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          • HappyintheUAE says:

            If you prefer a free society, I suggest you ensure that you choose a country that enjoys such a lifestyle. Definitely stay sway from any Muslim country. In fact, perhaps you should just stay home and enjoy your freedoms there – an expat life does not suit everyone.

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            • Johnny says:

              Ah the tired old love it or leave it mindset.

              Also it seems not liking the backwards thinking UAE means never travel or teach anywhere else. *rolling eyes*

              I’ve traveled to the UAE and won’t be back there again.

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  13. Divenomad says:

    I spent two years working in the UAE for the Ministry of Education as a Teacher Development Specialist and was fired on the spot when a collection of Egyptian teachers who were unhappy with being tasked with the responsibility to teach children decided to take photos of me posted by friends on FB and put them up on several islamic websites (including one school website) with captions insinuating that I was posting them for my students to see. Then they told students to go to the websites and look at the pictures. I was simply in the picture, with friends, in a restaraunt/bar, posing for a picture, yet it was deemed inappropriate after the ‘spin show’ created by my ‘colleagues’ was developed. The seed for this plot was set months in advance and when the trap was sprung, there was no recourse and no admission of guilt or knowledge of my termination by any of the relevant leaders in the Education sector. I fought for more than four months to clear my name and be compensated for wrongful dismissal. in the end, although I was compensated, I still was treated with complete unprofessionalism and discourtesy. If you are not Emirati, and especially not arabic, you are not safe to live peacefully, safely, or securely in the UAE. Unfortunately, if the same wonderful story is broadcast about the Dubai Dream on enough media outlets, fiction becomes reality and the truth of the situation becomes just another mirage in the desert. With so many other options available to educators, why fall victim? Stay away.

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  14. PM says:

    What a shame that you miss the point here, the lack of respect to women ( especially Westerners) is all too common in the Middle East. This attitude is endorsed largely by their belief that they are always right. It is time Western governments speak out against such practices that exist in these countries.

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    • egnomad says:

      The lack of respect for women is not reserved for “especially Westerners.” While it is important to challenge the current law internationally, the reality is that resident Westerners are very much part of a hierarchy of privilege in the UAE. The Norwegian government’s diplomatic involvement ensured that you are reading about the case. But her boss (the one who fired her) was Swedish. If she had been a local woman, or one of countless domestic workers who suffer sexual abuse (from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Philippines…) you would not have heard about it.

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    • HappyintheUAE says:

      Why “especially westerners”? Why do you think that?

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  15. egnomad says:

    If you are making a political statement by not traveling to the UAE until it shows willingness to make long overdue changes in the law, fair enough. But if you are truly an international school teacher interested in life-long learning and questioning assumptions, approach it with caution and an open mind. It’s what you make it – not just malls and boozy brunches, but perhaps an opportunity to work with some extraordinary students from all over the world in small classes, and to raise their awareness through education.

    Choose your employer carefully. The horror stories around changed contracts are multiple and true. Disputes can mean coming home paying your own airfare and repaying visa expenses. And if you do run into legal trouble, you need reassurance that they will have your back, and that they have a good relationship with the embassy. Problems with HR at the early contract stage are a warning flag that should not be ignored. HR and administration often function quite separately as the “business” side of recruitment, so be aware that the best principal in the UAE will be powerless to support you if HR gets messy. Exercise caution and respect in the face of authority once you are there, as the reality is that they will control aspects of your life, especially if they hold on to your passport (many do, illegally). Their authorisation for your visa, your banking, housing, and your departure is essential. Consider whether you are comfortable working under these conditions.

    As a solo woman, I felt remarkably safe, even at night, and walking on remote beaches. But local wisdom is that when things go wrong they can go very wrong. Having travelled to the UAE for many years, I was aware that attitudes seemed to be changing – taxis definitely felt less comfortable. Drivers seemed less friendly, and sometimes on drugs to to keep awake. Attitudes to different cultures vary significantly. Exercising caution around alcohol – and around friends who are drinking – should go without saying, but a party with colleagues is not always in your control. Choose your doctor carefully and ask about policy on women’s health issues. Be aware that a simple checkup where test results turn up pregnancy or STDs can get you deported, or worse.

    It may be difficult to assess your school administration before you embark, but once you get there, it is important to have a strong network of friends and colleagues, for information sharing and safety. You’re not going to change the system overnight. But good teachers are making a subtle impact, if not to the law, to attitudes about women, so don’t dismiss the opportunity to go and be one of them.

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  16. Yazmine majumdar says:

    I am shocked but not about how Muslim men treat women, they are extremely backward. I lives in Egypt for three years and the men would constantly leer all the time. I would now never visit a country where women rights are violated and where slave labour is considered necessary, in my mind they are evil people and I have no intention of visiting their appalling country

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    • trav45 says:

      With that attitude, that’s probably a good decision, and all of Egypt breathes a sigh of relief. I lived there for 5 years and enjoyed it and the Egyptian people immensely.

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  17. Iguanab says:

    I live in Kuwait which is a much more conservative country than the UAE. In my four years there, while I have never heard of this happening to a Westerner, Phillipinas, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis are victimized all the time. It makes me sad that such things occur to women who simply have the “wrong color” passports. In my mind, we must stand together for any woman who is abused and raped. The laws in Kuwait only protect those who have “wasta” (influence) or who are protected my their nationality.

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    • Teacher in ME says:

      I live in Bahrain, which is far more moderate than many other ME states. I have never heard of such cases here, but I agree it can depend on where you are from, as to how you are treated. My husband and I are always very conscious of how we are behaving in public, although I have on occasions seen local couples holding hands and pecks on the cheek are quite common ( but usually within the same gender). I think what is important to remember is that although you can live a ‘normal’ life in ME countries, the penalties once you step over that line, are severe and you can quickly realise that your Western concept of ‘rights’ are non existent.
      Rape on the other hand is a different matter and can happen to any woman anywhere. It should never be the woman’s fault. The thing that I am struck by in Dubai is, that because of it’s reputation as a party place, there are massive double standards in operation. When we stayed at the Marina for a weekend recently, there were prostitutes, quite freely visiting the guys in the apartment next door and the security were obviously turning a blind eye. I reported it to the management when we left, but never heard anymore. If, I had reported the matter to the police, however, I think those ‘ladies’ may have been treated very severely.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    It is not only in Dubai any other place including your own county, you may not be safe, if you are not applying your sense to live in dignity. Kissing on cheek or else where may be common, very simple for you and your culture, but not for all cultures. First we should respect the law of the land as we have gone there to work, live and enjoy but not condemn and criticize. Having lived in UAE
    I know it is 100 times a safer place than any other country in the world.

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    • teachingaroundtheworld says:

      No, it’s not. The problem is that it only SEEMS safer than any other country in the world. The UAE and in particular the Dubai government rely heavily on expats to live and travel within the UAE. They advertise the area as one that is forward thinking and modern. They’ve published international ads to encourage tourism. In these ads women are featured in western wear and expats are shown interacting together as if greeting each other with a kiss on the cheek were 100% acceptable. I’ve personally seen an ad published by a school in Abu Dhabi that boasted that living in the city was just like living in Miami! As the ISR article states, it is not modern at all when it comes to looking just below the surface. A victim of rape has virtually no recourse when it comes to Shiria law. The article above has only touched on female victims of rape…we haven’t even mentioned the many young boys in Dubai and in other parts of the UAE who have been victims of rape at the hands of older men.

      I agree that the UAE can be a wonderful place to live. However, let’s not forget that it is not a utopia and there are aspects of the country that need modernisation and improvement – including how it approaches rape and crimes against women. If you believe that the UAE “is 100 times a safer place than any other country in the world” then you might want to look in the mirror before you accuse someone else of “do[ing] anything stupid.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/01/world/middleeast/01dubai.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
      http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/teenage-boy-raped-at-knifepoint-in-al-rashidiya-court-told

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      • abu says:

        @teachingaroundtheworld:

        You said:
        “…A victim of rape has virtually no recourse when it comes to Shiria law. The article above has only touched on female victims of rape…we haven’t even mentioned the many young boys in Dubai and in other parts of the UAE who have been victims of rape at the hands of older men….”

        Well, I’ve lived in Dubai for close to 20 years and I can see that you managed to cram a lot of BS into a couple of sentences (mentioned above)

        Firstly, it’s “Shari’a”, not “Shiria” (shows your ignorance of the land, its culture and the arabic language) and also utterly exposes your lack of depth in the subject at hand.

        Secondly, regarding your claim that “MANY” young boys in Dubai, I dare you – Bring forth your proof that shows that “MANY” boys were victims of rape by old men in Dubai…C’mon, lets see what you got…

        As a resident of Dubai for the past twenty years, I recall only a handful cases where rape of young boys has ever happened in the U.A.E. And in all cases, the justice was served fairly and quickly. In one instance, the perpetrator was an Emirati and the victim was an expat – nevertheless, the Emirati was executed; just one example of the fair handed approach of the UAE judiciary. Now, compare and contrast that with the HUGE number of children who have been molested by supposedly “priestly” men in the UK, US and elsewhere in the West. Many of those victims and their families are still in despair as have been deprived of honor and justice by the very institution that was supposed to instill those values in them !

        May I also remind you of a certain controversy – that you conveniently seem to forgot – that rocked the BBC recently with regards to exploitation of children/teenagers ?

        Finally, heres a statistic – from the land of the NY Times – that may open your eyes a little (I hope):

        As per the U.S. Census Bureau, 81,280 women were FORCIBLY RAPED IN THE U.S. in 2009.

        MORE THAN 81,000 IN A SINGLE YEAR !!

        Source:
        http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0314.pdf

        The single incident you cited (boy getting raped in Dubai) PALES IN COMPARISON to the sheer number and scale of rape cases in the U.K. and the U.S. as per official figures from those respective governments themselves.

        Next time, please do a better research and if nothing, AT THE VERY LEAST, have the intellectual honesty to admit that the western world is facing a dire moral and sexual depravity crisis of ALARMING PROPORTIONS.

        Like

        • Shocking says:

          Well ABU you completely miss the point of the article. No one denies that woman are raped in other countries. The subject of the article is that in the Western world when a woman is raped she is not condemned to prison and accused of being the perpetrator of the crime, as she is in the UAE. Imagine being rapped and thrown in jail and then beaten by a brother or father upon your return home!!!

          How’s about you stick to the topic. We all know woman are raped in the US, England and everywhere. But it’s your country that holds the victim accountable. So, point your finger and yell and scream all you want, the fact of the mater is the UAE is 1000 years behind in its approach toward woman.

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        • Anon says:

          As a western woman, who lived in Kuwait for 5 years, I say Abu is right, and most muslim women have more respect, care, and love than western counterparts. Took me a few years to realize it.

          Like

  19. Birgitte Jensen says:

    Note to self: Do not consider teaching positions in the United Arab Emirates.

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  20. teachingaroundtheworld says:

    I am very happy to know that ISR is posting some data related to rape and related crimes in the UAE. On the surface it’s a very safe country, modern and westernised. However, one must remember that the police and courts follow Shiria law despite the modern appearances. I have lived and worked in Dubai for several years and have heard of many shocking injustices when it comes to rape, pregnancy, homosexuality or innocent displays of affection -such as greeting a colleague or dear friend with a kiss on each cheek.
    Planning to move to the UAE? It can be a great place to live but like any other location there are positives and negatives. I would say the lack of women’s rights are definitely on the negative side. Any woman who has the great misfortune of being raped in the UAE should think twice before reporting it to the police as she will most likely find herself in jail instead of her rapist.

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  21. Shocking says:

    It looks like there are loads of such instances in the UAE. Here’s a link. I think I’ll avoid the place. It’s not worth it to me.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/briton-says-she-was-raped-in-the-uae–but-gets-fined-for-drinking-8390574.html

    Like

    • HappyintheUAE says:

      I have lived with my family and worked here in the UAE for many many years. I cannot understand why westerners in particular, both men and women, put themselves in these dangerous situations in the first place. They know the laws here but deliberately flaunt them without regard for the consequences until it is too late. It seems they feel as westerners they area above the local laws. They are not!

      I agree that the laws are not always consistently upheld by the authorities, especially with regards but tourists, but with westerner residents, the laws are usually strict – however, not as strict as they are with Muslims residents. The laws are straight forward and simple.

      Remember the old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” You can have a very successful and rewarding career – professionally and financially, here in the UAE if you are sensible.

      Like

      • Yazmine majumdar says:

        Define being sensible. I was and I was leered t constantly. I wore conservative clothes etc never drank. So yes now define sensible

        Like

        • HappyintheUAE says:

          “Sensible” is abiding by the laws of the country in which you are a guest, whether you agree with them or not: nightclubbing, mixed partying, drinking, mixed anything is unacceptable, no boyfriends/girlfriends, as well as dressing appropriately – long and lose, so you don’t do it.

          Like

          • suze says:

            Happy, you are clearly a Muslim woman going about in a hijab and experiencing no problems. You don’t seem to be understanding what Yazmine is saying–a Western woman, dressed conservatively in Western clothes, can walk down the street, *obeying all the laws* and will still be harassed. There is a double standard and an assumption that all Western women have loose morals. You can’t understand this because you haven’t experienced it, but it goes on every single day in UAE. So please stop preaching about “obeying the laws” to people who are not breaking them, but still being harassed.

            Like

  22. Anonymous says:

    with a little common sense you can live a relatively normal and enjoyable life in the UAE……even a good life. You are definitely not in the west and there are certain muslim laws that you will be expected to respect, but this is understood. my advice to anyone seeking medical attention in the UAE…… if the first chiropractor(Dr) “molests” you, it may be a good idea to be a little more selective about the next one you decide to visit.

    The fact of the matter is……if you don’t do anything stupid you ll be just fine. Bad things happen everywhere and this may or may not have to do with the rule of law or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time…….in any country. The UAE is a very safe and hospitable country for those of us from the west. unfortunately there are some nationalities that do not have it as good as us, but even they have made the decision to work/live there.

    Like

    • teachingaroundtheworld says:

      “if you don’t do anything stupid you ll be just fine. ” Really? Define ‘stupid.’ (Get in a taxi by yourself? Be examined by a doctor? Go on a date?) The truth is, a woman doesn’t have to act ‘stupid’ to be raped or molested in Dubai or anywhere else. The difference in the UAE is that the country is ruled by ancient laws that blame women, rather than protect them.

      Like

      • HappyintheUAE says:

        “Stupid” would be anything that violates the laws of the country in which you are a visitor. In the UAE, this would include drinking alcohol outside your home, dating, touching, kissing, sending explicit emails or texts, relationships outside marriage. “Stupid” would also including putting yourself in potentially difficult situations. As a female, do not see male doctors alone, going out alone to nightclubs, travelling from nightclubs alone in taxis late at night. By accident, it is easy to send the wrong messages out. There are so many different cultures living and working in the UAE that signals can easily become crossed. Not everyone thinks as you do. If you are young and looking for a great social life, meeting boyfriends/girlfriends, enjoying nightclubbing etc, the UAE is not the place for you.

        The UAE is a Muslim country. I suggest anyone contemplating a more here to live and work should familiarise themselves fully with the rules and laws, and, if they feel they cannot live under them, do not come! The UAE is a very safe and secure country to live in, interesting, with many opportunities for everyone. Women are respected and protected here.

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          Women are not respected and protected there. Get your head out of your a**. You likely feel comfortable there, because it hasn’t happened to you. Yet.

          Like

          • Rusty99 says:

            clearly the response of someone who has never lived in the UAE for any time. It is you that needs to get your head out of your a**. The previous member is absolutely right. If you are street wise there is unlikely to be any problem. It is a very safe place to live if you follow simple rules and remember that you are NOT living in the western world. Try living in other parts of the world then you might realise how safe it is.

            Like

          • Anonymous says:

            Exactly. Why do pple continue to be so naive?

            Like

        • FormerUAE resident says:

          For the most part, I have to agree with this poster as I never felt in danger when living in the UAE. Many people want to treat the UAE and its beaches as if they were in southern France. That’s just not plausible. I was appalled by the case for the woman raped in her hotel and detained and charged. That is unacceptable in the UAE or anywhere else. But, the UAE is not France, and foreign women must be aware of this and act accordingly. Walking around drunk, especially alone, will court attack, but that could be in any other country as well.

          Like

      • Yazmine majumdar says:

        Quite agree, don’t do anything stupid. Don’t live normally. Ridiculous nonsense, the UAE annoys me

        Like

        • HappyintheUAE says:

          Yasmine Majumdar, “don’t live normally”??? For whom? I think you have missed the point. If you want to live “normally” as you do in your native country, then stay there, and live happily. If you choose to live elsewhere, you must be prepared to live differently, abide by different laws etc. and yes, even Sharia law!

          Here in the UAE, men are convicted and jailed for even touching a woman inappropriately, let alone, attacking and raping. But, consuming alcohol, being with men other than your lawful husband are illegal. This is why these women have also been charged. They have also broken the law. These laws may not be acceptable to you, if not, then I suggest you do not come here to live, nor should you consider any other Muslim nation.

          Rape is not acceptable in any culture, including the Muslim culture, and punishments are severe.

          Like

          • Yazmine majumdar says:

            I have not missed the point. I have lived in Egypt for 3 years dressed conservatively and never drank and the amount of leering hissing and inappropriate behaviour was downright disrespectful. I have befriended Muslim women who tell me their husbands expect them to cook clean fetch and carry for them so no I have not missed the point

            Like

            • HappyintheUAE says:

              I am a Muslim woman (not from the UAE) and cooking, cleaning, fetching, and carrying for my husband and family is my honour and pleasure. This is not a burden for Muslim women. But, this does highlight one of the many cultural differences that western expats living in Muslim countries must accept. While perhaps for western expats, this is wrong, it is not wrong for Muslim women.

              What a shame you had a difficult time living in Egypt. Shame on those men!!!!

              Here in the UAE, if a man “leered” at me, I would call the police. He would be dealt with at the police station immediately and certainly think twice before doing it again.

              Like

          • TCherian says:

            I am a non-Muslim woman who is married to a non-Muslim man from a Muslim country. From my personal experience it is clear to me that a large group of Muslim men consider European/American/Australian non-Muslim women to have loose morals and therefore think they are “easy to have”. Especially if they are not married. I have travelled with my husband in his (Muslim) country before we were married and after we got married and had children. The difference in treatment I received is ridiculous. The assumption made by most Muslim men that non-Muslim women, especially if they are unmarried or unaccompanied, are fair game is the basis for all the problems a non-Muslim woman will be confronted with in a country like UAE! A non-Muslim woman can dress conservatively and not drink, she will still be subjected to inappropriate treatment (stares, comments, stalking etc.) by some men, lets not even talk about rape. These men would of course NEVER treat a Muslim woman in an inappropriate way as they would fear the consequences, i.e. the loss of respect within the Muslim community, the legal punishment etc. If you (“HappyintheUAE”) tells me that there is no problem to live in the UAE if you follow the rules I believe you immediately. If I was a Muslim woman it would be the same for me. But I am not, and following the rules is not enough for me to be safe. Unless I stay at home all the time and do not come in contact with any local men. As this is not a realistic scenario if you live and work in a place, it is probably not a bad advice for non-Muslim women to consider other teaching destinations.

            Like

            • Anonymous says:

              I read a lot of nonsense in your post. These observations are loaded with cultural bias. It’s not Islam that causes these behaviors, it’s the individual behaviors by unscrupulous people. Stop generalizing and blaming religion. The middle east constitutes 25% of Muslims in the world.

              Like

            • katamari says:

              I must respectfully disagree with your comment;
              “These men would of course NEVER treat a Muslim woman in an inappropriate way as they would fear the consequences, i.e. the loss of respect within the Muslim community, the legal punishment etc.”

              Muslim or no, in Egypt at least, women are subjected to sexual harassment every day. To say that it wouldn’t happen to a Muslim woman is ignorant. Muslim women feel every bit as unsafe out on the streets as we do every day.
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az1DsRo6QX4 – A short report about a male Egyptian actor who goes undercover as a woman to talk about sexual harassment.

              Of course this isn’t right. Of course it seems outdated and outright reprehensible, because it is. Regardless of the colour of your skin, your language, or your religious beliefs, no one should be made to feel unsafe.

              Catcalling and stares happen in the West too – not on the scale that one encounters here, but remember, you are a stranger and one that appears drastically different from the women that are part of the culture. You are going to get looked at differently than the locals. Fortunately, in Dubai, this isn’t as prevalent as in Egypt since there are a lot of foreigners. But it will happen regardless of where you are and whether the country follows Sharia law or not.

              What I believe is being said is that there are precautions that one can take to prevent serious issues, like rape. Don’t take taxis late at night by yourself. Don’t walk alone at night, especially after drinking. Don’t put yourself in the position to be taken advantage of (which in this case, unfortunately, includes spending time alone with men who are not your husband). I would recommend the same thing in New York city, wouldn’t you?

              This is not a question of “living normally”, this is about living safely. Any teacher who is in the international field knows how important it is to know the local laws and customs before choosing a place to work. And I have always said that to work in the Middle East takes a certain personality and a certain willingness to adapt your behaviours in order to live safely. If you cannot or are unwilling to do that, I would recommend you look elsewhere for employment. Even a change in law won’t mean an immediate change in culture. That doesn’t mean the UAE shouldn’t change the law to protect the victims of rape – it should – but you would still have to follow a set of rules for your own safety that you may or may not have to follow in the West as well.

              Again, I am not saying that the way women are treated is right. It isn’t. To be unable to go to the police when you are attacked is a scary thing. I know – it happened to me, not in the UAE but in Egypt. The laws need to be changed to protect the victims of these attacks.

              Like

            • TCherian says:

              Dear Katamari, thanks for your comments and the video link. I agree with what you say. Sexual harrassment unfortunately is part of every woman’s life, independent of religion, race and place. The problem with UAE at this point of time however seems to be that if a non-Muslim woman wants to report rape she is punished for illicit sex.

              Like

            • katamari says:

              I understand this point and again want to point out that a non-Muslim and a Muslim woman are the same in this case. Neither can feel safe reporting rape due to antiquated laws.
              I feel that this conversation has digressed well past the purpose of ISR, which if I am not mistaken, is to provide information to international educators seeking employment overseas. Discussions like these can lead to valuable information to be passed along, like that provided in egnomad’s post. It saddens me to see this forum used to make comparisons in religions that perhaps some of us don’t fully understand or to make broad-strokes comments about a particular culture. There is a place for these debates, but I am not sure this is it.
              Yazmine, international teaching may not be your calling.

              Like

            • TCherian says:

              True, Egnomad and a few others posted interesting information and that is what the forum should be there for. And if you tell me that reporting rape is risky for ALL women in the UAE due to antiquated laws, I fully believe you. However, I could not resist my initial post to “HappyintheUAE” as I felt her statements did not acknowledge the fact that the legal practice in regards to rape in the UAE is not up to current human and women’s rights standards. Instead she focused on inappropriate behaviour of non-Muslim women in a Muslim society. By this she is backing the legal system and power structures in place. This is what saddens me, that women who are generally the victim of rape, independent of religion, do not join forces against injust laws. So I had to give a “non-Muslim point of view” eventhough this is not what the discussion should be about.

              Like

    • Modderrhu says:

      You are obviously a male Anonymous. I understand respecting Muslim laws while in the UAE, but the fact that men are not punished for abusing, raping or molesting women, the women themselves are, is deplorable and disgusting. What if you had a daughter who was raped? YOU taught her how to follow all of the rules and she did absolutely nothing to encourage this treatment, broke no laws and used common sense but was put in jail because SHE was raped. Would you think it was so safe then?

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Even in countries where men are held accountable for such actions….it still happens.

        Any kind of violent act against women is terrible……but these kind of instances are not exclusive to the UAE. Rapes and domestic violence happen everywhere and believe or not…men can get away with it everywhere.

        Some of the posts here make the UAE sound like a place where men can just go rape women and this is just not the case. The fact is the UAE is an unbelievably safe country and aside from the occasional creepy glare, I have never heard any woman mention anything about being frightened or too scared to go about her daily life as she would in her home country.

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Message to the Muslim woman. I take my hat off to you and you have my utmost respect, I personally find it atrocious that women believe that is acceptable for a man to expect that of a woman. It’s give and take as far as I’m concerned. Cook and fetch or any man is atrocious in this day and age.

        Like

    • Yvonne says:

      I do not entirely agree with you having lived six years in Kuwait…anyone can turn on you, set you up, sabotage, falsley accuse you and get away with it if they are a national. This article points out these facts even in more “modern” Dubai.

      Like

  23. US Teacher says:

    When I lived and worked as a Teacher in the UAE, I was molested by 2 different chiropractors (inappropriate exposure, touching that was clearly sexual misconduct by US standards). When I tried to report it, I realized the country had nothing in place where I could safely report the incidents and get any kind of justice or consequence to the two doctors. For women, I recommend only seeing a female chiropractor while in that country (there are a few) to be safe. It was quite appalling!

    Like

    • Canadian Teacher says:

      I have been to Chiropractors in the UAE and requested that a woman (or my husband) be in the room with me . I always make sure that I have someone there with me because I know the laws are so dodgy. I have never had a problem.

      Like

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