24-year-old Norwegian interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv was, according to her statement to the police, raped by a male colleague in a hotel room in Dubai.
When Dalev managed to reach the police and give her statement, she was instead convicted and sentenced on charges of having extramarital sex, making a false statement and illegal consumption of alcohol.
According to Dalev, not only did the police officers refuse to help her, they also asked her if she was sure she called the police because she just didn't like it. The question, of course, led her to the conclusion that no one was going to believe her side of the story.
The woman had been handed a 16-month prison sentence in Dubai which is yet another addition to the country’s record of human rights abuses against women.
Also, both the counts with which Dalev had been charged are widely practiced in UAE. Arabs and especially wealthy Arabs drink alcohol openly in hotels as well as have extramarital relationships with women. But they are not jailed or even touched for that matter by the police authorities because they are nationals and so-called, self-proclaimed practicing Muslims. In fact, it’s not just the Arabs in Dubai; it’s basically the case in every other country in the Middle East.
The Norwegian rape victim had been handed prison sentence because the Arab authorities are too timid to admit that a crime as heinous as rape can be carried out in their country and a woman can be subjected to sexual assault under their watch. Or in other words, it’s plain hypocrisy.
Although, according to recent news reports, Dalev has been pardoned and is free to leave the country, the unfortunate incident has however left a series of questions and debates behind. It remains to be seen if the authorities and law enforcement agencies in Dubai will answer them or not.
You can watch Marte Deborah Dalelv’s account of the incident in the video above.