Bahrain Officials Tell Molested Women To Stay Away From ‘Bachelors’

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It’s clear from the video the two women are in obvious distress as they are repeatedly grabbed by their swimsuits and groped by the men.

 

 

Two women were sexually harassed by a huge crowd of men at a water park in Bahrain. Shockingly, the response of Bahraini authorities has been sadly lacking.

The incident reportedly took place at Bahrain’s water resort, “The Lost Paradise of Dilmun Water Park.” In the footage, that has garnered mixed reaction from Bahraini citizens, two women can be seen in a pool, surrounded by a group of men. It’s clear from the video the two women are in obvious distress as they are repeatedly grabbed by their swimsuits and groped by the men. As the two tried to get out of the water, one of them seemed to be crying out in alarm.

Soon after the video went viral, outraged citizens on both Twitter and Instagram called on authorities to take immediate action in the case.

However, the reaction of the Bahraini authorities was shocking. Instead of condemning the ill-mannered men in the pool, a senior official started victim-blaming the two women.

“The two women themselves went to an area where there were only bachelors," the official reportedly said.

He said the two women had been issued a warning “not to repeat such actions anywhere, anytime.”

He also added "the individuals involved in the incident were strictly advised to avoid crowded pools," which is completely ridiculous since there will always be large crowds in water parks.

He also had the gall to say the women were not sexually harassed.

It is extremely clear from the footage, the women, in fact, were groped by strange men in the pool.

Another senior manager at the water park was a bit less insensitive and said an investigation was taking place.

“The CCTV footage of the incident has been handed over to the police and the people are being traced,” he told the GDN. 

“Meanwhile, we have increased the number of security guards at the park – mainly near the pool and the stairway, where the crowd is usually heavy,” he said.

However, he stated the women did not press charges against the men and as such, the park could not take legal actions against all the perpetrators.

“We cannot take action against almost 800 people in the pool, especially when the women involved did not make any complaint,” he said.

He also said the two women looked “happy” when they came to the park the next day.

Many people on social media also blamed the young women for wearing “provocative” clothes in the pool that prompted the men to harass them.

 

“It's not possible that they didn't see the pool was filled with men before they went in. Plus, what they're wearing is provocative. Everyone involved in this is wrong, but these two women gave these men a chance to harass them, if they had dressed modestly from the beginning, no one would've done that. But to wear a two-piece swimsuit in a mix-gender pool and expect no one to harass me, that isn't realistic,” said one user.

 

"A woman who doesn't cover herself up and who doesn't preserve her honor deserves what she gets,” another said.

However, other people were having none of it.

 

“Shame on every person making excuses for these animals (harassers),” said one person.

 

“Harassment does not reflect anything about the victim, it just shows what kind of man (animal) you are,” another said.

 

“So dressing immodestly is wrong but sexual harassment isn't?” a third user said.

Mariam Alammadi, founder of the Bahrain-based women’s empowerment group Afkarech (Your Thoughts) said the country needs to adopt a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment.

“It was clear from the short video that these young ladies were being harassed,” she said. “The young women looked uncomfortable and distressed… Our message to the women of Bahrain is nobody deserves this treatment and nobody should tolerate it.”

Dr Huda Al Mahmood, head of Dar Al Aman Shelter for Women said the actions of the men showed gender equality has a long way to go in the country.

“This exposes the cultural lag that exists in our society. There is huge difference between being educated, well-dressed, eloquent and being civilized. Our brains and mentality must match our external, polished, advanced appearance. But this incident shows this is lacking in the men we see in the video. It shows their primitive thinking. I respect women and I know their rights, but let’s be wary – the reality is that women’s rights are still not guaranteed in our culture. In the West, perhaps we can speak of (closing) the (gender equality) gap in terms of a decade, but in our part of the world it is a black hole. God knows how we could ever bridge it.”

Bahrain is reportedly one of the most tolerant countries in the Middle East when it comes to dress codes. According to Gender Index, “sexual harassment is illegal in Bahrain under provisions of the Criminal Code; this includes verbal harassment as well as physical.”

However, not much is done to ensure such behavior remains prohibited as harassers are seldom held accountable and victims, therefore, do not come forward for fear of not being believed or ostracized.

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters

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