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BY VICTORIA TRAVERS
The consultative Shura Council of Saudi Arabia has completed an outline of a new law that would initiate several punishments for sexual harassment crimes throughout the country, according to Arabianbusiness.com.
For the draft law to become legislation its details must be firstly agreed to by the 150-member Shura Council within 30 days. It is then passed to King Abdullah to be approved.
Member of the Shura Council and political science professor, Dr. Sadaka, endorsed the draft law telling Arabic news organization Al-Eqtisadiya:
“This is a common problem that can be found in all societies but in varying degrees. It increases in mixed places such as malls and workplaces and it results in many social and psychological problems for victims.”
Though we at Hollaback! do not endorse flogging or $13,000 fines, we are pleased that Saudi Arabia is paying attention to street harassment in a country where women are still largely segregated. In September of last year, Saudi ruler King Abdullah declared that from 2015 women would be able to vote, be appointed to the Shura Council and stand in municipal elections. Officials have also announced that they would allow Saudi female athletes to compete in the London 2012 Olympics. It is absolutely staggering that these simple human rights that we take for granted everyday are not available to Saudi women, and we hope this attention to street harassment is the first of many cultural shifts to come.
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