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Saturday, 18 August 2012

UAE rape victims urged to step forward


UAE laws encourage victims to lodge civil lawsuits to claim emotional, mental, medical and financial compensation.

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Highlighting an important fact, Dahi said most Emirati rape victims tend not to attend court proceedings to avoid embarrassment or confrontation with their rapist.
Dubai: In the hours and days after falling prey to brutal sexual assaults, less than half of female victims actually report the crimes to authorities, federal statistics from the United States suggest.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network says that, “54 per cent of rapes and sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to a statistical average of the past five years. Those rapists, of course, never spend a day in prison. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about three per cent of rapists ever serve a day in jail.”
The US statistics are food for thought in other countries around the world where cases of unreported rape incidents may be even higher given conservative social moraes which frown upon victims albeit the crimes committed against their person are of absolutely no fault of their own.
Leading court officials in the UAE are encouraging female rape victims to bring attackers to justice not only in the criminal courts, but increasingly now in civil courts to file for financial compensation for a raft of physical and emotional damages.

“Although not even all the money in the world would rectify the endless ramifications of the rape, rape victims should always seek civil compensation at least in terms of principle,” he added.
Advocate Bin Haidar supports rape victims to lodge civil lawsuits to claim emotional, mental, medical and financial compensation.
According to the civil law, Bin Haidar said a rape victim is entitled to seek emotional compensation for the psychological pain and suffering that followed the incident.
The emotional breakdown, fear of stigma and tendency to isolate themselves is what keeps most rape victims from taking their rapists to civil court, according to advocate Ali Musabbeh Dahi.
“Trauma, feeling of insecurity, disbelief and mistrust are the harshest emotional effects that hit a rape victim. They also tend to detach themselves from the society completely. Those are major reasons that discourage a raped woman from lodging a civil lawsuit. Another reason is the fear of seeing her rapist again during the investigation or litigation process … and especially when the defendants claim to prosecutors or the courts that it was consensual sex,” said Dahi.
Highlighting an important fact, Dahi said most Emirati rape victims tend not to attend court proceedings to avoid embarrassment or confrontation with their rapist.
Meanwhile, some expatriate women leave the country immediately after giving their statement to police or prosecution.
Advocate Dahi strongly encouraged rape victims to take civil action against rapists.
“The main goal of a civil lawsuit is to help a rape victims recover from her emotional and psychological damage. Evidently no amount of money would ever compensate the physical and emotional torment of raped females, and particularly who become women after the attack. But a compensatory amount from a civil lawsuit could help a rape victim rehabilitate herself witha psychiatrist and rebuild her life.”
His fellow counterpart advocate Rashid Tahlak said rape victims do require and deserve compensation.

“The aftermath of rape haunts a female forever and particularly those who hadn’t had relationships before.
The most crucial effect on a rape victim is that she may lose potential husbands. Unfortunately in the Arab world we have this mentality in which men prefer to marry a virgin. If a woman had two queues of husbands-to-be, as soon as those men realize that she is a rape victim, the two becomes half a queue if not nil,” stressed Tahlak.

As per the UAE Civil Law, Tahlak said, a rape victim is entitled to seek financial compensation for loss of potential gains [such as husbands] and incurred damages.
“Regrettably there is an unfortunate mentality among several communities that denounce raped females and accuse them of subjecting themselves to such encounters. A raped woman is a victim and the society should not perceive them with contempt,” concluded Tahlak.

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