Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Saudi woman attacked by her husband - Saudi governement sends him home, and tell her YOU TO!!

Posted by Hannah at 8:13 AM

I found this story on the Daily Barometer about a women and her family that were here in the US it seems to finish her education. I'm sure her husband was here for either that reason, work, or just to be here with his wife! The story really doesn't get into all that.

According to the story she had a fight with her husband about how he wanted to go home to Saudi Arabia, and I guess according to her and her health issues as she was with child she wanted to wait until after the birth. It sounds like her husband had already called to cancel her scholarship here, because he wanted to go home. The fight was about the birth, and the fact she wanted to finish her education. They were staying at a Motel, and he ended up assaulting her. She left the room, but I guess her appearance as she was bloody alarmed others that called for help.

I guess because she is here on a paid scholarship she is to contact the the Saudi Arabian embassy when trouble brews, and because of her appearance other called for help instead.

The police arrived at the scene and questioned Albarjas about the scratches on her face and the visible bleeding.

"[Alsharif] was telling [the police and the embassy] that 'I did not hit her,' that 'She wanted to go out,' that 'She was acting crazy and I wanted to keep her in the room,'" Albarjas said. "This is not true."

Albarjas and her son now have a permanent home in Corvallis.

"[Alsharif] went back home now," Albarjas said.

"The problem is that my embassy does not like if you are a woman and you call the police, so [the embassy] was really mad at me, and they told me that they are going to cut the scholarship off."

The scholarship from the Ministry of Higher Education in Saudi Arabia was paying for Albarjas' tuition and also gave her a monthly stipend.

"The only thing I really want is to have my scholarship back because I have a really high GPA and I'm supposed to have a scholarship just like everyone else," Albarjas said.

According to Albarjas, the embassy is attempting to motivate her to move back to Saudi Arabia.

I have to wonder how well they will 'take care' of this back in Saudi Arabia, and I realize there are cultural differences and all. The man clearly assaulted her, and when he was charged he ran back home instead of facing the charges. I don't care WHAT was said or what wasn't. You don't punch your pregnant wife! The assault happened in front of their young son as well. It sounds to me like they want to rush her back home, so they don't have to deal with the consequences of breaking the law here.

"What we have is from [Albarjas]. What she has she can tell you," said Sami Alibrahim of the Saudi Arabian Council in Los Angeles.

Photos of Albarjas' injuries were taken at the hospital. Albarjas pressed charges that resulted in a restraining order against Alsharif.

"Everything happened in front of my son, so we had to go to court and he had to prove that this happened," Albarjas said. "And at that time he did not speak that much English, so they had a translator for him."

The incident has caused Albarjas to be concerned for her family's safety.

"My husband's family talked to my family and they said that they are going to kidnap my son," Albarjas said

The women in question it sounds like is also considering a divorce.

I found an interesting take on this story on another blog. I was tempted to get into the discussion, but decided against it.

Two days ago, the same story was forward to me by an American friend. She asked hubby and me if we and other Saudi students can support this family in a time of hardship. I read, and reread the story, without being able to make up my mind about it. It is clearly biased, and takes the stand point of the wife alone. We do not get to hear much about the husband who already left to Saudi Arabia, nor is the Embassy giving out any statements because the information they have, as they were quoted, is what the wife had told them.

I could not help but wonder, is the wife truly a victim here? Is she asking for her rights, or is she a pragmatist trying to get the benefit out of Saudi and American system both at the same time?

I have to wonder WHY someone would justify domestic violence? What does she mean is she a real victim? I would assume because she is a citizen of her country she is entitled to this scholarship money, and because her husband decided to beat the daylights out of his wife things change? Her country, her family, and her husband are all against her because as fate would have it.......someone called the authorities on him. When you live in this country you have to remember that is what happens. If this women didn't press charges chances are the state would have anyway! It was going to happen WITH or WITHOUT her cooperation! Men don't just up and HIT you once! Men that hit have a character debit, and women that hit to me...the SAME!

The chances of this woman being able to stay in this country may not be very likely according to the some of the comments on this post. I don't know enough about it to tell you one way or the other. It does seem like this woman is in between a rock and hard place. She can struggle as a single mom, or she could possibly have her children taken away from her for the divorce according their Saudi law. She can go back home and endure the ridicule and additional beatings from her husband. It doesn't sound like any of them are good choices. Is she the real victim? To me that is a silly question, and one brought up from ignorance sadly.

A violent spouse will probably give out clear elevation in temper signs which after many years of marriage the other spouse will clearly detect. The wife has high blood pressure. Is that a new medical condition or did she have it through out her pregnancy? Could her high blood pressure have influenced her interaction with her husband and her judgement of the steps she had taken (eg, seeking asylum)? If her blood pressure truly does not allow her to travel, how could she have come to the US only weeks earlier?

Students as they newly arrive in the US often do not have realistic ideas about what they're getting into, the legal system, the consequences of small and large decisions, etc. That's why I find it even harder to analyze the story with logic...

What difference does it make? Does she have a better chance of raising her children HERE without violence being involved since he took the coward's way out and ran? Even if you can predict your husband's rages doesn't mean you don't get hurt. If he wants to hurt you - you don't have to do anything he will make sure he does! There is NO logic behind that comment the poster made. Its like she is saying domestic violence can be avoided if you try.....NONSENSE! SO many people don't understand the dynamics of domestic violence.

Could she have thought about that prior? I have no idea, but if she did I don't blame her! You divorce your husband in that country you pay him, and gets to take the children. He gets to continue the cycle of violence onto the next generation. There is something cocked eyed about that as well! No one holds men accountable for domestic violence I guess, and that's morally wrong as well!

I'm sure she has a point about the students NOT having a good grasp on the system here in the US, but isn't that the role of the embassy in some ways? I'm sure they encouraged this man to run, and not face the charges. If you look at the way they handle those charges here most of the time it certainly wasn't worth running away from! One poster did mention the bias against their country, and I'm sure they do have a point there. The truth being this man shouldn't have laid one finger on his wife to begin with. I mean where is this man's moral standards? He wouldn't have had to worry about it if he kept his hands to himself! THAT is the real point!

One wonders if the wife could have manipulated the situation to make sure she'd come to the USA and then ask for asylum?

Considering the relations between the USA and Saudi, such a request for asylum is almost certain to fail. If the USA allows asylum for domestic abuse, think of the flood gates that would open.

Besides, once the US system gives asylum to one Saudi female, how many more are going to follow? It would be a tacit indication that the society is so bad in Saudi that women MUST flee to remain safe.

I dont think it is going to happen.

So to the SACM and the girl's scholarship, in order to be on the scholarship a woman must have the permission of either her husband or male members of her family. Without this there is no scholarship. She knows this.

As to the man, I can tell you from first hand experience that many Saudis do not feel that they would ever get a fair shake in the US criminal justice system, especially in a situation where women's rights and violence is concerned.

99% of a possible jury pool would have him tried, convicted and imprisoned in their mind before opening statements were given in a US court.

I dont condone him leaving.........but I understand it.

I don't understand it. NOT at all! If they did convict him...isn't he guilty after all? Does he need to be found innocent because she MIGHT have manipulated things? People are NOT stopping to think here! Do we not all have self control? Do we NOT encourage that?

You having to have a man's permission to have the scholarship? They have to understand that this is quite telling right there. Where are the women's rights in this country? Don't tell me they would have DONE something to this man if he had done this back in Saudi!

I'm sure there are bunch of beautiful people back in that country, and we all know they have good moral ones as well. The problem is like everywhere else in this world people shouldn't condone behavior like this! Some countries are worse than others! You don't treat women like second class citizens that need MALES to make decisions for her! There are to many evil men in this world, and if the shoe was on the other foot....SAME THING! When you give ALL the power to one gender, and throw nibbles to the other you will always have problems.

Will she be safe if she is returned I would ask this poster! If he can't answer YES because people will protect her from her abuser then Saudi isn't a place that is safe. You will also have tons of other ladies trying to escape as well, and if you were in their shoes.....I bet you would also! Does that make the country and its people bad? No. It means you have a major bottleneck you need to deal with. If more than 1/2 your population KNOWS they aren't safe in your country...what else should that tell you? We need to use some logic in that area as well!

You make an excellent point. Like many sensitive issues in SA, tackling it would mean pulling a thread out of an intricate net of other issues. So, if we speak about being better equipped with handling domestic violence during scholarship programs, we need to go and work on the idea of domestic violence, free speach (eg, contacting media), male guardisnaship over women, etc. The scholarship is issued by Ministry of Higher Education which legally abides by Saudi Arabian law, so if there's an acception to be made to that law, there's no way around involving the whole Saudi collective mind in it, and treating it as an isolated subject.

While researching this story, I was told that a very similar one took place in Oregon and during the late 70's! The mother never could go back home after it, and she suffered quite a lot to support herself and family.

I have to wonder if you asked that women herself WHICH type of suffering she would wish to endure if she could do that again? Go home and be beaten and suffer....or be a single mom in the US and suffer?

YES there is a huge dynamic if one thing is changed, but to me it sounds like its time. Its a big undertaking, and YES it will be ugly. Its called showing the value of human worth. Neither male nor female would be on their earth if NOT for the other! We are equally valuable in that light.

Chances are this women will be sent back, and from the lack of value they must place on a women like her she may end up dead. You have to wonder about the rage of the children when that happens, and then you have to wonder when that cycle will stop.

Will it ever? I pray that is does. The whole conversation reminded me of how the church at times handles domestic violence as well.

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