Saudi officials: Rape victim was an adulteress

More victim-shaming in an attempt to quiet global criticism.

Published November 26, 2007 11:25PM (EST)

Today, Saudi Arabia's Justice Ministry made an important announcement to ease intense international pressure over the sentencing of a gang-rape victim to 90, and then upon appeal, 200 lashes and 6 months in jail for being accompanied by an unrelated male. The Girl of Qatif, they say, is an adulteress. Well, why didn't they mention that before -- now her sentence seems exceedingly reasonable, right? Ri-ight.

This most recent account of events conflicts with the prior, well-publicized version that's been floating around unchallenged for over a year now. Originally, it was reported that the Girl of Qatif got into a car with a male friend to retrieve a photograph. The car was suddenly commandeered by two men who drove the pair to a remote location where more men waited. She was raped by seven men a total of 14 times; her friend was also raped, according to the BBC. But in the new version of events, according to a justice ministry press release, "the charged girl is a married woman who confessed to having an affair with the man she was caught with." What's more, the victim was partially undressed when the men found her in the company of an unrelated male -- thus she was asking to be repeatedly gang raped.

If this explanation doesn't squash global upset over the sentencing, perhaps some more victim-shaming is in order?

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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