Human Rights Watch interview with the Saudi rape victim, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia, mid-December 2006.
The rape happened in March 2006. This transcript is redacted.
[I was in a car with another person, driving home] We were about to turn the corner to my house when they [the other car, carrying my attackers] stopped right in front of our car. Two people got out of their car and stood on either side of our car. They man on my side had a knife. The other man was holding a stick. They tried to open our door. I told the individual with me not to open the door but it was opened. .. I screamed. One of the men brought a knife to my throat. They told me not to speak. They pushed us to the back of the car and started driving. We drove a lot but I didn’t see anything since my head was forced down.
They took us to an area called the XXX with lots of palm trees. No one was there. If you kill someone there, no one would know about it. They forced me out of the car. They pushed me really hard. I yelled out “where are you taking me? I’m like your sister.” They took me to a dark place. Then two men came in. They said “what are you going to do? The first man with the knife raped me. I was destroyed. If I tried to escape, I don’t even know where I would go. I tried to force them off but I couldn’t. The man with the stick came in and did the same thing to me. In my heart. I didn’t even feel anything after that. I spent two hours begging them to take me home. I told them that it was late and that my family would be asking about me. Then I saw a third man come into the room. There was a lot of violence. They knew that I was married and asked for my name but I refused. After the third man came in, a fourth came. He slapped me and tried to choke me. The fifth one took a photo of me like this. It tried to cover my face but they didn’t let me. Two of them had their faces completely covered so you could only see their eyes. The sixth one was covered. He hit me. The fifth and sixth ones were the most abusive. After the seventh one, I couldn’t feel my body anymore. I didn’t know what to do. Then a very fat man came I kept asking them the time. At that point it was 1 am. All seven came back and raped me again. Then they took me home. They drove me in their car. They took my mobile and said that if I wanted it back, I would have to call them. They saw my husband’s photo in my wallet when they were searching through my things. When I got out of the car, I couldn’t even walk. I rang the doorbell and my mother opened the door. She said “you look tired.” She thought I was with my husband. I didn’t eat for one week after that just water. I didn’t tell anyone. I went to the hospital the next day. My family thought my state was a result of my anemia. I told the doctors I was just tired.
THE AFTERMATH, INITIATION OF CHARGES
The criminals started talking about it [the rape] in my neighborhood. They thought my husband would divorce me. They wanted to ruin my reputation. I was trying to fix something by getting the photo back and something worse happened. Slowly my husband started to know what had happened. Four months later, we started a case. My family heard about the case.
My husband said I needed to go to the hospital so that they could know what happened to me. Four months passed after the incident and so when I went to the forensic doctor, they didn’t find anything.
I can’t sleep without pills. I used to see their faces in my sleep.
There were two court sessions, one during Ramadan and the other after Eid [AL-FITR]. At the first session, they [the judges] said me “what kind of relationship did you have with this individual? Why did you leave the house? Do you know these men?” They asked me to describe the situation. They used to yell at me. They were insulting. The judge refused to allow my husband in the room with me. One judge told me I was a liar because I didn’t remember the dates well. They kept saying, “Why did you leave the house? Why didn’t you tell your husband?”
Before the first session, the prosecution said there was no need for a forensic evaluation because we wouldn’t gain anything from it.
At the second session, they called me in from the waiting room. I went in with my husband. They sentenced some of them to five years, others to three. I thought these people shouldn’t even live. I thought they would get a minimum of twenty years. I prayed that they wouldn’t even live. Then he said, “[NAME WITHHELD], you get 90 lashes. You should thank god that you’re not in prison.” I asked why and he said “You know why. Because its khilwa hair sharan [MINGLING BEGETTING EVIL].”
Everyone looks at me as if I’m wrong. I couldn’t even continue my studies. I wanted to die.
Two of the criminals were walking around in our neighborhood right in front of me. They attended funerals and weddings. They should have arrested them out of respect for us. I called the police and told them “find me a solution. The criminals are out on the street. What if they try to kidnap her again?” The police officer said “You go find them and investigate. I called the police officers four times on August 8th, September 6, September 4, and September 23rd [checked cell phone for exact dates] with information about their whereabouts but I didn’t get a response. I saw them in front of my eyes and called to tell them so.
The statement from the ministry of justice said that the husband refused to allow the forensic exam. That did not happen. They said it would not be useful.
It was like she was the criminal. When the judges passed down the sentence, I asked them “don’t you have any dignity? Is it because we are shi’a?”
The governor or the area was good and the police were serious because the governor [a royal prince] was involved.