Women’s Rallies in Libya Protest Rape

CNN reports that Libyan women in Benghazi staged a demonstration on Sunday to protest the alleged rape of Iman al-Obeidi by Libyan government officials in Tripoli. Al-Obeidi made headlines on Saturday by bursting into a Qaddafi government press conference and telling her story to the reporters. She was bundled away and disappeared, but on Sunday the government announced that she had been freed (this allegation could not be verified). ITN has video:

Qaddafi officials initially had attempted to smear al-Obeidi as mentally ill, but backed off the accusation when it was clear it had backfired.

The Benghazi women carried placards promising al-Obeidi that they were coming to liberate her. They said that women had faced such abuse for decades under Qaddafi.

AP reports that Libyan women in Tobruk also staged a demonstration for al-Obeidi, protesting the Qaddafi government’s alleged use of rape as a tool of political intimidation:

A physician in Ajdabiya says that he has been finding Viagra and condoms in the pockets of the bodies of pro-Qaddafi forces who fell in battle there. He is convinced that these material signal that the troops were systematically using rape as an instrument of war. Aljazeera English reports:

40 Responses

  1. Juan,

    Am in Africa and don’t have your email address to hand. You can publish this or treat it as a private communiaction.

    I don’t think anybody is in any doubt about what an atrocious dictator Gadaffi is. But there are serious questions about the legality of this action now which you are simply not addressing.

    I always thought this action was unwise, but I argued that it was legal in terms of UNSCR 1973. That was of course a huge improvement on George W.

    But current action in bombing defences to pave the way for a rebel assault on Sirte goes way beyond the mandate of UNSCR 1973 and is plain illegal. I have posted on it on my blog this morning. I would urge to give it serious thought and address the arguments. Bluntly we know Gadaffi is awful, but posting atrocity stories to appeal to the emotions is an intellectual cop-out – and has been a trick of warmongers for millennia. I am really surprised.

    • Posting atrocity stories is a cop-out? I thought it was documenting what was happening. If he didn’t post them, you’d probably be saying “see, you’re not posting any evidence of Gaddafi’s misdeeds, so he must not be making any”.

      And yes, there are atrocities aplenty — nearly two thousand in the week from February 17 to February 25 alone:

      link to democracynow.org

      • Posting atrocity stories is a cop-out? I thought it was documenting what was happening.

        I fall back on the age-old “Craig Murray Doctrine.”

        Posting atrocity stories is a cop-out when doing so promotes a policy that Craig Murray doesn’t like.

        • Funny, both Joe and Phoenix make Craig Murray’s point for him. Neither address the heart of the issue which is that by bombing Sirte the bombing campaign is clearly outside the scope of UNSCR 1973 and therefore illegal. I also haven’t heard a response from Mr Cole regarding this development.

    • Guy Incognito says:
      03/30/2011 at 12:30 … by bombing Sirte the bombing campaign is clearly outside the scope of UNSCR 1973 and therefore illegal. I also haven’t heard a response from Mr Cole regarding this development.

      The coalition is not bombing Sirte – it is bombing Ghaddafi’s armor and troops who are killing civilians in Misrata, Zawiya, Zintan, Tripoli, Ajdabiya, Ras Lanuf and a dozen other places. Pls. read up on events in Libya.

  2. Please encourge the various international media in Tripoli to keep asking questions about her ; she has apperently been freed but has now disappeared – the Western media could well save her lide if they were persistent and didnt move on to the next story as they usually do….

  3. Getting closer to ownership.

    The regime still vastly overmatches opposition forces militarily,” Gen. Carter F. Ham, the ranking American in the coalition operation, warned in an email message on Monday. “The regime possesses the capability to roll them back very quickly. Coalition air power is the major reason that has not happened.

    Do we pave the road to Tripoli with Qaddafi’s charred soldiers and equipment, then provide the rebels with close air support/special-forces/whatever to take the capital? Will the siege of Tripoli be then defined as a “humanitarian” enterprise, (or maybe a Fallujah)?

    Is the alternative politically bearable, i.e. letting the rebels advance on their own without air support, then get decimated? This is problem for even the most competent double talking politician. Maybe Obama will call in sick tonight.

    Seems to me that the most humanitarian thing to do now is declare an ad hoc east-west truce line.

  4. Rape as propaganda, rape as weapon of war. To begin with, it is extremely common that the act of rape is misunderstood. Rape is always violence. Not sex. All wars use violence, in whatever form the human is capable of inventing.

    Rape is and always has been a weapon of war and it is an unspoken truth that perpetrators do not need viagra in order to commit rape. The propaganda being made that Gaddafi’s forces are using Viagra and condoms is simply ridiculous. Did the Rwandans or Serbians also stock up on Viagra? We shall probably never hear of the rapes being committed by the freedom fighters. But you may rest assured, they are being committed.

    The other side of the coin, is the number of women who may falsely accuse men of rape, a very common occurence and almost as damaging.

    When rape is brought up in this context it can serve several purposes;
    1. It increases international outrage at the enemy (OMG, look what they’re doing to their women!)
    2. It bolsters the cause of the interventionists (OMG we MUST stop them doing this to women!)
    and 3. It reinforces the traditional Western viewpoint of Muslim women as male vessels and so bolsters the Western stereotype of gender roles within Muslim society.

    Not to mention the psychological effects on the enemy.

    • Just because you (incoherently) believe that the West is after the small reserves of Libyan oil, does not mean that Eman AlObeidi was not raped. Viagra was not available at the time of the Rwanda genocide. The Freedom Fighters are not attacking civilians and they have no motivation to rape. The cities they capture are welcoming them.

      Can you provide source for your claims that Viagra distributed by Ghaddafi’s death squads is propaganda by his victims?

      Your claim that women are not oppressed under traditional M.E. societies is hilarious and quite reactionary.

      • Mazlum said: 03/28/2011 at 9:21 pm

        Just because you (incoherently) believe that the West is after the small reserves of Libyan oil, does not

        Libya’s oil reserves are about the same as Nigeria’s, they each have about 30% of the African total reserves link to eia.doe.gov

        • Phil Daniels writes: Libya’s oil reserves are about the same as Nigeria’s, they each have about 30% of the African total reserves.

          What a non-sequitur. FYI, Africa has very little oil to begin with. Libya’s reserves is only 0.8% of world reserves (which is what is important, and not African reserves). That figure does not even include shale oil, whereby Libyan reserves falls to 0.3 (or a third of one percent) of world oil reserves. Indeed the reserves are minor.

      • I don’t know where you got the ‘incoherent’ belief that the West is after Libya’s oil reserves as I have not said anything about my belief as to why the West is currently bombing Libya.

        You have proven my point: Viagra was not available in the days of the Rwanda attrocities, and this proves that Viagra is NOT NECESSARY for a rapist.

        I do not acknowledge that Khaddafi is distributing Viagra since there are no contrasting reports verifying this assumption. Given the costs of Viagra, it seems unlikey a mass supply for a nation’s armed forces could be covered by Khaddafi’s budget. Although I may always be proven wrong.

        Where did I claim women are not oppressed under traditional M.E societies? I was pointing out that the west relies heavily on this assumption in order to justify their own agenda, which is largely to paint ALL Muslim societies as evil,unjust, backward, and generally less worthy than the west in all respects.

        Reports such as this one will be used to justify the west’s aims, just as the issue of women’s rights is used to justify military action in Afghanistan. The whole point is that these emotionally charged issues are BEING USED and therefore have become propaganda tools in the war.

        Everybody seems to forget the first casualty in ALL wars is THE TRUTH.

        • @Emma Martinez – well, I just assumed the only reason you support Ghaddafi’s slaughter may be because you think the West depends on Libyan oil and wants to syphon the oil – which the west does not. My bad.

          Again you got it wrong – soldiers are naturally not rapists. They don’t recruit rapists for an army. But you cannot deny that viagra may enhance the sexual drive and cause acts of rape against “the enemy” by otherwise men who would not think of committing rape under those circumstances.

          Libya has tens of billion dollars of oil income. Supplying 5,000 pills is a drop in the budget.

          “I was pointing out that the west relies heavily on this assumption in order to justify their own agenda, which is largely to paint ALL Muslim societies as evil,unjust, backward, and generally less worthy than the west in all respects.”

          Any source to back this up? Or does it follow from your (anti) imperialist conspiracy theories?

          “Reports such as this one will be used to justify the west’s aims, just as the issue of women’s rights is used to justify military action in Afghanistan.”

          And yes, reports such as Eman’s claim to rape can be used to justify helping the rebels by democratic countries. What a reactionary thing to say and reactionary position to take. In fact you are legitimizing rape in Libya. Nobody can criticize the Ghaddafi regime because you claim that will let NATO intervene against Ghaddafi.

          The level of reaction in support of Ghaddafi’s raping army is nauseating. The denial of rape by Emma, despite having no evidence, is infuriating: Ghaddafi’s rapes of Eman and civilians, and his backward dictatorial regime, cannot even be disclosed and discussed as that may give ammunition to the west!!

          And no – the reason men (and animals) commit rape is due to the masculine sex drive – and not due to love of violence (whatever that is supposed to mean). Did you take any science while majoring in gender studies?

    • I agree with you about rape being a weapon of war. I disagree with your conclusions. Your list implies that reports of rape must only be made when they cannot be misused for others’ agendas. Think of all the times that could happen:

      1) When the rapist and victim are of different races, religions, classes, or nationalities that have a history of violent conflict. What if the report caused retributive violence?

      2) When the rapist is a member of a traditionally oppressed group or religious minority. What if the report was used to justify discrimination or bigotry?

      3) When the rape is committed by “our enemies”. What if it is used to justify unjustified military actions?

      4) When the rape is committed by our own people, or our allies’. What if “our enemies” commit violence against us because of it?

      Indeed, if rape was only to be reported when it was convenient and unlikely to cause turmoil, it would never be reported.

      As for false accusations, here’s what I know: of all the women I personally know who’ve told me they’ve been raped, none has told me they have pressed charges. Not one. (I’ve known one male who reported a rape.) What that tells me is, for every rape that is reported, many more go unreported.

    • The propaganda being made that Gaddafi’s forces are using Viagra and condoms is simply ridiculous.

      Is there any reason why you’re accusing the physician on the ground of being a liar, beyond his story being inconvenient for your preferred policy outcome?

      • “Inconvenient for my preffered policy outcome”? My, you seem to assume I am a politician.

        The reason I think this physician’s report is an exaggeration is because he provides no proof (couldn’t he show us the Viagra or condoms he has found in their pockets?) and because it is a fact that rapists need neither Viagra nor condoms.

        The report is clearly playing on the emotions, the rape report occupies barely a minute and yet provides the headline.He does not say whether the two cases of rape he has treated involve the use of condoms and viagra. And it seems a very small number compared to the implied message that Khaddafi’s forces are systematically using Viagra and condoms.

        • The average soldier is not a rapist. The average soldier may not rape women in battle – but with viagra and condoms, the average soldier may indeed rape – which is a policy instrument of the anti-imperialist Ghaddafi.

          No, you are not a politician – rather an ideologue.

  5. It’s horrifying. But sadly, the only thing that surprises me about this story is that they’re using condoms. Rape is a common weapon of war, and of genocide.

    All praise and honor to Iman al-Obeidi for her courage, and to the women and children protesting for their solidarity.

    • Ah, but condoms can be excused because they keep the man from getting disease, you see. It’s why they aren’t quite as frowned upon by religious authorities as are things like diaphragms and birth control pills. (The first condoms were created not to protect women from pregnancy, but men from disease.)

      • That was not why it surprised me. It surprised me because sometimes the goal (or result) of systemic rape is to impregnate women. It can be a weapon of ethnic cleansing: forcing the women of another people to give birth to their enemies’ children.

        Of course, the ethnic factor is not (so far as I know) at play in Libya. But forcible impregnation can further traumatize the victim(s), and in some places, cause the victims to be abandoned by their husbands, rejected by their families, or even ostracized.

  6. The reality of wars, especially civil wars, is ugly, there is no shortage of crimes to go around and the guilty can be found on both sides of the divide. We should remember that this is the not the first time such emotionally-charged allegations have been made during this conflict, for example: link to edition.cnn.com

    The plight of the black Africans (including rape of a 12 year-old girl) at the hands of the rebels in Eastern, as many have come to call it “liberated” part of Libya, however didn’t tie too well with the chosen narrative so it got little traction.
    Now similar allegations are leveled against loyalist forces, of course all of them should be documented and investigated but the African migrants, it seems to me are more credible as they aren’t quite as obviously interested in furthering the cause of one of the fighting parties.
    To simply trumpet such allegations, taking them at face value, in my opinion, is not the most responsible way forward, especially considering the rebels’ track record with unsubstantiated claims.

    Also returning to the question of media bias: at first it was a nuisance then a real obstacle to the understanding of the facts on the ground, by now it is obvious that many outlets might as well be rebel mouth-pieces. Al-Jazeera, for one, has definitely tarnished its reputation by its coverage, it dropped media “bombs” like the stories of “black mercenaries” (quite possibly as a result real ordinary people paid with their lives), “Syrian pilots”, hundreds of prisoners freed from “secret prisons”, an Israeli firm allegedly contracting mercs for Qaddafi (for this citing a non-existent israeli newspaper article). Could this be grave incompetence from a usually solid outlet – or something more sinister? Either way much of mainstream media unfortunately now simply can not be trusted to deliver a balanced picture of the conflict.

    Now to the primary thread of the conflict: “mission creep” doesn’t begin to describe what has happened to the western air mission, it’s been more like mission freefall. What was marketed as a NFZ first and foremost (…was suspicious from the start considering the fact that Qaddafis air assets had been a non-factor) now is being stretched to cover what essentially amounts to NATO serving as a air force for-hire to the rebels. The pictures from around Ajdabiya paint a fairly clear picture: Qaddafi armor was targeted (this is clear from both “gun-camera” videos, pictures of destroyed vehicles on the ground and reports) away from the urban area proper, many vehicles were clearly idle on the highway outside the city, and according to some BBC reports even retreating westward. They did not present an active threat to any civilians. This and bombing runs deep in the country’s interior led the Russian foreign minister among others to conclude that the coalition is exceeding its mandate. How much longer can the coalition drag the otherwise militarily impotent rebels forward through devastating use of airpower, all while claiming that it is all just to defend civilians?

    Here are some photos of destroyed loyalist armor, almost in all cases away from residential areas, often arrayed in marching order along the highway or simply holding key locations against the rebel advance when hit:

    link to militaryphotos.net

    The rebels once again posing triumphantly on tanks that they didn’t destroy, and once again the thread contains a photo of black men rounded up… yeh the one with the rebel holding a machete over their heads (draw your own conclusions, surely all who follow the conflict closely have seen utube videos of black men dragged through the streets by the “liberators”).

    Some other points that need to be addressed:
    The often cited case of “success” in Kosovo that supposedly must be emulated (…with ghosts of Iraq purged in the process): a little known fact – the air war there was actually extremely ineffective, NATO claimed to have almost wiped out the Serbian armor in the province (allegedly some 100+ destroyed tanks, similar number of APCs) – the result as confirmed later by even western observers: only a dozen of each destroyed in a 78 day campaign and even of them some being obsolete pieces used as lures and decoys. Granted, the Libyan army is far less motivated and skilled, the tanks, for one, under the circumstances of the Libyan theater are in fact getting shredded from the air. But even it is learning: the latest reports tell of Qaddafi loyalists ditching tanks for civilian vehicles (like the rebels have been using from the start) thus becoming less conspicuous targets. Pretty soon the coalition is going to run out of obvious targets. To consolidate the gains a ground operation will be necessary, and the rebels might not cut it.
    Here is an opinion of somebody who knows first hand:
    link to washingtonpost.com

    For that matter Kosovo also provides hints of what can come after the “victory”: the original “victims” quickly turned ugly in anti-Serb pogrom of 2004, whatever few Serbs that had stayed were forced into ghettoes, and likely would have been slaughtered if not for the presence of international peacekeepers (the ones that specifically aren’t planned for Libya). The implication for Qaddafi loyalists (or those perceived as loyalists) are grim, especially in light of such allegations as mentioned above stirring emotions right now.

    Also far more caution must be exercised in throwing around terms like “slaughter”, “bloodbath” and especially “genocide”. If one compares the casualties of urban combat in the present Libyan conflict to past instances in cities of similar size: in Iraq, Yugoslav civil wars, Chechnya etc. with a cool head the conclusion is that the casualties in Misurata for example (at most dozens a day) are not abnormally heavy. I know this sounds harsh but civilian casualties are inevitable in this type of combat, and there is no conclusive evidence that Qaddafi forces have intentionally gone on a rampage. It should not be assumed by the way that the population of the cities that are held by the rebels universally oppose Qaddafi: interesting development occurred in Benghazi for example, the very heart of the rebellion, when the loyalist forces approached – a pro-Qaddafi “sleeper cell” rose up and fought the rebels.
    link to foreignpolicy.com
    If this was possible in Benhgazi of all places, then certainly other places as well. Other long term implications – if there are highly motivated Qaddafi supporters among locals, who can lay low with all the revolutionary fever around them, what’s there to prevent an insurgency in the future if the rebels do win? There are, for example, still forces active to this day in Iraq that express loyalty to Saddam Hussein (Jaish al-Nashqbandi).

    If the western leaders were truly interested in saving civilian lives above all, the best way would have been to arrange a credible ceasefire without preconditions. And despite the obvious fact that both sides had not abided by earlier ceasefires, with possibility of airstrikes being used as leverage rather than a threat and with world players that Qaddafi trusts (AU, Latin America) used as intermediaries it could have worked. And if Qaddafi then violated such a ceasefire the punishment would have carried more legitimacy. The fact that this course was not adopted and the overtures of the AU and Latin America cast aside sheds considerable doubt on the motivation of the leaders of the new coalition of the willing. Writing from Russia I can attest that the majority here shares this view, especially in light of earlier Western adventures in intervention and the obvious double standards applied.

    Once more I reiterate that I write with great respect for Dr. Cole and his expertise and opinions.

    • Meanwhile, speaking of ultranationalist Serbs — guess who they’re rooting for? Yup, Milosevic’s old ally, Gaddafi: link to rferl.org (That’s right, folks: Milosevic was buddies with Gaddafi before Gaddafi was “cool” as a reborn “anti-terrorist”.)

      And of course who’s lurking in the background in Serbian affairs, enabling their ultranationalism? Why, the country of that cuddly old KGB head, Vladimir Putin: link to rferl.org

  7. I certainly understand why some might be against this war. I may live to rue the day that I supported it. Nonetheless, the reaction of the anti-war left & right to this woman’s allegations were heartless and cruel. It’s certainly permissible to be against rape and to be against this war.

    Also, is there any truth to the rumor that Gaddafi is using Serb nationals as mercenaries?

  8. To Barbara Rice:

    “Also, is there any truth to the rumor that Gaddafi is using Serb nationals as mercenaries?”

    Of course. If it’s alleged, it’s true.

    • Uninformed – is this the flip side of “A tree in a forest will only fall if someone hears it?”

      Your constructionism makes no sense, as the above statement makes no sense as it breaks the laws of physics.

      Much of Ghadaffi’s airforce is Serbian in origin. There are certainly serbs working for him, and getting paid. Maybe pilots too.

  9. Please remember that the War on Women knows no borders. In the United States, a man rapes a woman every three minutes. That is 480 times a day. What rape says to women is this: you have no rights. Period. To be outside, to be on the street, to be in your own home, to be alive.

    I am glad you posted this article. In a world with rape, battery, and murder, there is no peace for women.

  10. My understanding is that very few women lie about rape. Women are rountinely not believed, humiliated by the police, the authorities and the court system.
    I can not believe that any woman would bring on false rape charges against a man – the price is enormous. This is why rape statisitics can always be assumed to be low. They do not do not include the rapes that women were afraid to report.

    Men rape women in the US military, and the women are usually treated like ‘the problem’ for speaking out.

    Everyone talks about feedom for people of color, indigenous people, the poor, the homeless, and no one mentions us. We are all of the above. Misogyny is the oldest hatred.

  11. I don’t understand this. The Libyan government claims the woman refuses to allow a medical examination. Neither she nor any family member denies this.

    Why? Why would she not accept an opportunity to establish independent proof of this heinous crime? Without it, it’s just her word against that of the men she’s accused. She could have proven her case to the whole world. It can’t be that she’s reluctant to seek publicity.

    Why, why, did she pass up this opportunity? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Does anyone have any theories about this?

    • There are so many reasons why this may be so, but the fact that you assume all women who are raped automatically want to tell the world about it, shows you know very little about the subject.

      How is the Libyan government offering medical examination? Threatening her, or her family? How does she know that during this examination she may not again be subjected to abuse and forced to keep quiet about it? After all, those ‘offering’ help are from the same band as those who allegedly raped her in the first place.

      But besides this, how does a medical exam -some time after the crime- prove rape? Who is to say she did not have intercourse in the normal course of events with her husband, or lover? This will come down to her word against the Libyan authorities. This is one of the major difficulties in rape cases: proving beyond the victim’s claims that she has been forcibly raped. Only when medical exams are performed a few hours after the event, and only if the perpetrator left significant signs of violence can a medical examination stand up in a court.

      So she has a few bruises and scrapes?. The lawyer defending the accused (assuming such luxuries exist in Libyan courts) can easily turn these into normal bumps and bruises brought about by any number of activities the woman may be tricked into admitting under questioning.

      I doubt whether the Libyan authorities would have such sophisticated tools as DNA testing for saliva or semen samples, and I doubt whether the alleged perpetrator has not already thoroughly scrubbed away any trace of physical contact with her.

      This is one of the major problems with rape and trying to bring to justice the perpetrators, and it is one of the reasons why it is a preferred weapon of the coward: it leaves no bullet wounds and in a court of law can be extremely diffcult to prove. The damage and scarring is largely psychological and this is a huge barrier for women themselves when given the opportunity to come forward and relive the whole experience through questioning, trial and confrontation with the perpetrator sitting in front of them. Most women simply can not face this harrowing prospect which is why so many cases of rape go untried, and even more, unreported.

  12. It is interesting that anti-western movements use rape as a weapon – Sudan, Afgh, Iraq – etc. Are we to assume that pro-western forces lack a sex drive or are so caught up in their righteousness that they have become celibate or do we just not hear of them.

    • Don’t be a complete idiot. RAPE IS NOT SEX. Rape has nothing to do with sex drive, it is violence.

      Your flippant remark is typical of the ignorance and taboo surrounding rape. The first and most important thing to learn about rape, is that it is not a sexual act. It is an act of violence, primarily an expression of power, dominance and humiliation which is why it is so frequent during social conflict.

      Do not confuse celibacy with an absence of rape, doing so brings a whole new meaning to sex generally.

  13. Mazlum – Thats Arab for cheerleader or pom-pom girl. I thought Islamic culture frowned on that sort of thing.

  14. I assume that the fighters, on both sides, are under age 30. Thats the demographic that is most interested in fighting. If the pro-Gaddafi guys need Viagra to get it on then we can safely assume that the good guys need it too. I propose a study, once things cool down, to determine why young Libyan men are impotent. I suspect a western conspiracy as in “The man is keeping me down”.

  15. Your comments are increasingly glib and offensive.

    Rape is not and never should be a laughing matter.

    To refer to it as “getting it on” is extremely distasteful.

    I request the moderator here pays closer attention to this poster’s remarks which are deeply offensive towards rape victims and add nothing at all to the debate.

  16. Emma,

    “There are so many reasons why this may be so, but the fact that you assume all women who are raped automatically want to tell the world about it, shows you know very little about the subject.”

    Actually, I do know quite a bit about the subject, but we’re not trying to show who knows more here about rape. Most 5-year olds know enough to understand that a woman may be unwilling to “tell the world” she’s been raped, but I think we can agree this particular woman had overcome that hurdle. She burst into the lobby of a hotel occupied by journalists and photographers covering the most-watched story in the world.

    You certainly may speculate that any medical exam would have been a cover-up, but I have no doubt whatsoever that, had one occurred and the woman had requested, Western journalists would gladly have arranged for the whole process to be monitored by trusted, independent physicians.

    You also may speculate that the examination might not have turned up any evidence. Sometimes that is the case. Usually not – especially when the woman openly has asserted that 15 men forcibly raped her and that several also urinated and defecated on her. Nearly always, there is evidence of physical injury that can’t be attributed to some other cause. In the vast majority of cases, DNA evidence will be available as well. I’d be extremely surprised if something hadn’t turned up.

    Perhaps a physician reading this can “referee” our disagreement on what a physical exam would have turned up. But for those who are familiar enough with that narrow subject to accept that my view is sound, the question still remains entirely unanswered:

    Why, why did this woman refuse a medical examination, thereby passing up a golden opportunity to establish independent proof that she was telling the truth about this horrible rape?

  17. Emma Martinez, thank you for taking this on.

    al-Obeidi may be dead or jailed. If she is in jail, one can only hope they have not raped her again, or totured her, or….?

    In the US, only 8% of rapists do jail time. And in Libya?

  18. Julia,

    The young woman may be dead or jailed. Or she may be alive and out of jail. She may have been raped again. She may not have been.

    It’s all just idle speculation. I may have been raped, or maybe not. The same for you, or anyone.

    I must say I’m surprised and disappointed that everyone seems to be ducking the question I’ve posed, which seems to me compelling: In a country where a man’s word often counts for more than a woman’s word, and where men usually decide whether the man or the woman is telling the truth, why in the world would any woman – a woman who’s already claimed to have been raped in front of the entire world, and thus has no reservations about reporting what happened to her – pass up what really amounts to her one and only opportunity to establish her claim by independent medical evidence? She could have insisted that a doctor of her choice monitor the whole procedure, and complained loudly if the Libyan government refused. But she didn’t.

    Why?

    I suppose it’s obvious by now that I have a tentative answer to that question, but I’d certainly like to hear another answer from others. It’s certainly a question that cries out for an answer.

  19. Uninformed comment, I do not see how you can continue to not understand why this woman refused offers of help from the Libyan authorities.

    I am not trying to prove I know more about rape than you. But merely by bringing in to the picture the idea that ‘most 5 year old’s’ would understand the reasons why a woman would be reluctant to report a case of rape simply shows you are not as sensitive to the issue as you should be. Okay, you’re trying to tell me that it’s easy to see why a woman would not report rape, you have chosen a really bad way to say it.

    I do not agree that this woman has apparently overcome the hurdle of revealing to the world her alleged ordeal, especially given the extremely public way she did this: in front of a room full of strangers. This is one of the reasons I tried to broach the possibility that she may be falsely accusing.

    I find it hard to see why you can not understand that the way most women talk about rape, especially a recent barbaric attack such as the one al-Obeidi alleges, is rarely, if ever, in front of a room full of journalists.
    Women screaming rape is actually quite unusual, and when it occurs like this, it is usually motivated by different causes, and most likely not by a gang rape experience.

    I don’t disagree with your ideas about the possibility of a medical examination proving her claims. I am simply saying that even in the pro-justice, gender-violence aware democratic west, this is often not enough to convict. Think about the kind of justice established in a tribal society such as Libya and you might begin to suspect that applying the same rules and procedures as are established in the west, to Libya, is naive.

    Think about the prospect of this woman going thru the ordeal of reporting the incident in every detail (number 1 reason why women don’t report rape: re-living the experience in front of strangers) identifying the 15 suspects, (a major reason why many reported rape charges are dropped; re-living the ordeal AND confronting her attackers again), being confronted, harrassed and threatened by the suspect’s families, undergoing grueling cross-questioning by the 15 suspects defending lawyer etc. etc. All of this, and the idea of being forever labeled within her society as The Woman Who Screamed Rape, is enough to understand a reluctance to begin the judicial process no matter who offers to support and help you.

    If, after all the information you may gather by simply Googling ‘women report rape’ and my feeble attempts to get you to see something you are stubbournly refusing to see, you still can not answer why this woman refuses the Libyan’s offer of a medical examination, then I can only conclude you are a bit thick.

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