Sunday, November 19, 2006

Emarati Police - A Tribute

So I've been reading Forsoothsayer on widespread sexual harrassment of women in Cairo and the lack of interest to the point of complicity shown by the police force there. And I was catching up on The Sandmonkey's latest when I came across this comparing and contrasting with Dubai.

Well I have to say it's not just in Dubai. There is zero tolerance for any type of sexual harrassment in UAE which is something that deserves respect. Emarati police always show a lot of respect for women that manifests itself in many ways:

1) If a man harrasses a woman and she reports him, they arrest him first and ask questions later. If convicted, he gets up to 3 months in jail, followed with deportation if he is an expatriate. They also shave his head and print his photo in all the newspapers with a warning that he is a sex offender/harrasser.

2) If a man harrasses a woman and she DOESN'T report him but a plainclothes police officer notices, the same will happen to the man. Even if the woman declines to press charges for whatever reason, it is still a punishable crime.

3) The above has an effect that trickles down to every level of society. I've had men refuse to get into the lift with me if I'm alone because they're scared I might turn out to be a religious prude and report them for harrassing/offending me or something.

Owners of most public places are so scared of trouble with the police that they show no tolerance for harrassment either. Even in clubs, if a man harrasses you and you report him, he'll be kicked out and won't be allowed back in while the bouncers can still remember his face.

Sometimes this policy gets a bit obssessive and there is outright discrimination against groups of single guys as opposed to couple or families. I've seen guys -especially teenagers - get kicked out of a restaurant, mall or coffee shop without having done anything just because the manager thinks they look like they're out to watch girls and they might offend the couples or the families. I think this has something to do with the fact that couples/families tend to have more money to spend than teenagers though.

4) If a woman is pulled over for speeding or some other traffic violation, they let her go unpunished after politely requesting that she try not to do it again. That happens 75% of the time. I know what I'm talking about because I speed a lot. They have a positive aversion to arresting/fining or otherwise initiating legal procedures against women or bringing a woman to a courthouse or a police station. They will do anything to avoid that.

5) If a woman is standing waiting for a cab and there's a police car or motorcycle nearby, no cab driver will dare not stop for her. If he doesn't, they chase him and bring him back. If a man is waiting for a cab, the police usually let him fend for himself.

6) The police extend this protection to all women, whether they're local, expatriate, veiled, unveiled etc....They even extend it to prostitutes sometimes. It's nice to see an Arabic police force protecting women instead of judging them.

Now I'm not saying UAE is paradise. It is still a Middle Eastern country with it's share of problems....All I'm saying is that inspite of all that, the dominant trend is towards making the country safe for women. Which is cool.

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18 Comments:

Blogger Nerro said...

Lolo, am giving a presentation at the AUC on the 30th, and what you wrote is really interesting. Would you mind if I quote you??

11/19/2006 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Puppy said...

That is really cool, Loulou. didnt know that about UAE.
Good share of information, i thought Egypt is more liberal, but seems UAE won :))

Cheers,
Puppy.

11/19/2006 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mumbo Jumbo said...

I was once harassed by a car full of guys while I was driving, it started to get out of hand because they kept trying to cut me off and they were following me the whole way. It started to freak me out because I thought they could really get either of us killed! I found a police officer and stopped to complain to him. You know what he did? He LAUGHED!
No comment.

11/19/2006 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Puppy said...

Mumbo Jumbo,

Where it was? In which country?

U reminded me a story happened to us. Once when my sis was driving and 2 of us other girls in were in the car. The guys on hyundai sport car started signalling us, beeping, then one guy from their car lean out of the window and started proposing us sweets, gums, candies. My sis took her hand out of her window and took it. Please note that all was happening while driving in a city, with cars all around. And it wasn’t slow. The guys were very young, may be high school that one of the girls in our car asked have they made a homework :) It was summer it was funny. Generally and mostly here in Azerbaijan, women do not get harassed on the streets, whether they are in the car or streets.

Good day.

Puppy.

11/20/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Nerro,

No I wouldn't mind. Feel free.:)

Mumbo Jumbo,

What a scary experience. I would have punched that policeman.

11/20/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Nora said...

It seems like a faraway dream.....being able to walk down the street, any street, without being harrassed, AND protected by the police too....WOW. Lucky Emirati women...:)

11/20/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mumbo Jumbo said...

Puppy, it was in Egypt.

11/20/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Rancher said...

Our females in America rarely get speeding fines also.

11/20/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Forsoothsayer said...

sanks for reading my blog :) esp. on this issue which i am fanatical abt. i knew this about the gulf...but it's more feasible there cos 1)better jail-to-people ratio, 2)people care about shaming their well known families, 3) it's bad for bsuiness, and the gulf s crazy about business. these things don't really apply in egypt. i suppose when cops are eaing they'll care about other people. but the govt could still do much.

11/21/2006 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

While far better than the opposite situation found in Egypt, this seems like "reverse discrimination".

I applaud UAE for making efforts so women are respected and made to feel safe. But the idea of men being afraid to even stand around or talk, however politely, is perhaps a bit too far.

There must be a happen medium... like Canada perhaps :)

11/21/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Jordan,

I'm aware that it can be reverse discrimination sometimes. I grew up here with 3 brothers so I do know how the other side lives/feels. It wasn't always nice for them.

Before I read about the Eid incidents in Cairo, you'd probably have found me complaining about how retarded the Emarati police is being and do they think men are going to eat us etc...

Not anymore though.

11/21/2006 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Qatar Cat said...

Haha this sounds like Qatar a lot :^)

And yes I used to complain too, but not after I read about Egypt incidents.

11/21/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Fair enough loulou!

11/21/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger H.O.P.E said...

Very true about the Emarati police Loulou. I remember when I lived in the UAE I felt very safe knowing that the police were on every corner watching.

I lack that feeling of safety walking down the street when I'm in Egypt. It's a shame that we don't have more disciplined police forces there. Women would feel so much more secure knowing they had "guardian angels" keeping an eye on them. But such is life!

11/22/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger tooners said...

Wow, this is very interesting. I especially like the fact that they shave the person's head and put their pic in the paper. Can't get much better than that!

I only wish they did the same here in Bahrain. They really need something like this, not just for sexual offenders of women but also of children.

Even tho some may think it goes too far in the UAE, I'm really impressed at how far they go to protect women's rights. Good for them.

11/22/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Rambling Hal said...

Loulou, I work for a magazine in jordan called JO - it's a social and cultural type of mag - and we have fun little tidbits in the beginning of the magazine that say Try this, or Hear this, or Eat this, or Analyze this. One if Implement this, and we were going to write a short little paragraph on the cracking down on sexual harrassment in the Emirates. If you don't mind, I want to refer readers to this blog entry! Hope that's ok?

Thanks!

11/27/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cairogal said...

I think you're right. In the UAE, there is a sense of family name and maintaining respect. Families fear their sons being shamed publicly. And I have to say, I've always had good experiences with Dubai police. Polite, kind, willing to attempt communication (even when we barely spoke a few common words between us)-I never feared being leared at, which happened pretty regularly in Cairo.

11/28/2006 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Hal,

Feel free. No need to ask. Am flattered you want to.:)

11/28/2006 10:47:00 PM  

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