Just recently an incident happened in Dubai, a Norwegian woman was sentenced to prison after informing authorities that she was raped by a colleague after attending aa company party. According to CNN, the Norwegian interior designer, Marte Deborah Dalelv was sentenced to a 16-month prison sentence in Dubai. The 24 year old was convicted and sentenced on charges of having unlawful sex, making a false statement of rape, and illegal comsumption of alcohol. Her and a colleague, had attended a company party, both had consumed alcohol, and Ms.Dalelv wanted her colleague, whom was accused of rape, to walk her to her room. Ms.Dalelv, realized that he had not walked her to her room and before she knew it, she was being pulled in by her purse into a room and was being sexually assaulted by him. Presently, Ms.Dalelv and the perpetrator have both been pardoned and dismissed of all charges by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
This story really caught my attention, because I just visited Dubai a few months ago, and I visited as a solo traveler. Dubai has gotten quite a bit of backlash for the treatment of this young lady. Dubai has also been criticized by rights groups that sexual assault is condoned against women. Records have been disclosed that several other incidents involving women being raped and charged of illegal sexual acts have happened over the past few years.
In December of 2012, a British woman told authorities she was raped by three men in Dubai, and was found guilty of drinking alcohol without a license and fined.
In January of 2010, a British woman said she was raped by an employee at a hotel. She was charged with public intoxication and having sex outside of marriage.
In 2008 an Australian woman, reported she was drugged and gang-raped. She was convicted of having sex outside of marriage and drinking alcohol, and she was sentenced to 11 months in prison.
As a woman, I could not even imagine or even fathom being raped. My heart goes out to any woman that has ever experienced such a horrible act. But, I also take what the media discloses to the public with an open mind. I do not believe everything I hear, see, and read that is presented by the media. It is probably very well true that these women were raped, these accused men possibly got away with it, but, who knows what really happened none of us were there. But, I don’t know if I’ll go as far as saying that Dubai condones sexual assault against women. By no means am I dismissing and downplaying what happened to these women. But, what disturbs me is some of the comments that have been made about Dubai after this recent incident. The conclusion and confirmation that Dubai is unsafe for women to travel. I’m sorry but I totally disagree. I feel I have a right to speak on this because unlike some, who have never even set foot in the U.A.E, I have been there. This has to be one of my biggest peeves of all times, it totally and utterly annoys me when people make assumptions off of something they have heard, seen, or maybe even read from the media. We are in an era where technology and the media seem to do all of the thinking for us. We are not a society that likes to delve in and check it out for ourselves….we’d rather Facebook or Twitter do it for us!
Moreover, look at the statistics, according to those records, there was a rape reported in Dubai in 2008, 2010, 2012, and now 2013. Now lets look at the statistics of rape cases in the US and this is reported by the U.S Bureau of Justice, CDC, Koss, Gidycz, and Wisniewski College Study, U.N. There is an average of 89,000 rape cases reported in the US annually. Granted the U.S. has a much larger population, our 313.19 million versus the U.A.E’s population of 7.891, but you do the math which country sounds safer? Then there is a list of countries with the highest rapes…the US was listed number six out of nine countries, not terrible. However, the U.S is still technically not as safe as the U.A.E according to these numbers.
My point…I feel we get too caught up in the media sometimes, it’s the media’s job to get ratings, hello that’s how they make their money. Moreover, upon my travels to Dubai, I felt very safe! I used public transportation to get around most of the city and this was also at night. I never felt threatened by a cab driver or was even treated any different than if I held a cab here in the states. As a matter fact, I lived in Chicago for about 9 years, I feared my safety more so on a Red Line train going to the south side of Chicago, than the train in Dubai. Which by the way was one of cleanest public trains, I have ever ridden on. Also, I am also not a heavy drinker of alcohol, especially when traveling abroad, and especially in a country that finds public intoxication illegal. That’s just one of my safety rules as a solo female traveler, inebriation is not my friend.
I would totally recommend to any woman to visit Dubai. It’s a very safe place to visit and has many beautiful attractions such as the Burj Al Arab, The Fountains of Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa, the Madinat Jumeirah, the Palm Islands. I’m missing Dubai as I think about my wonderful experience there! The shopping…my goodness the shopping, fashion heaven!! A shopper’s delightful dream! I found the people to also be very friendly, the women sometimes were a bit standoffish, but I endure the same kind of treatment from American women at times. Let’s not forget the food, can I say absolutely delicious! I could use a cupcake or two from Sweet Stuff and please don’t forget a plate of potato croquettes and skewered lamb from the Shakespeare and Co. Cafe!
It is very unfortunate what happened to these young ladys. But please guys don’t judge a city or anything until you really truly know. Experience some things for yourself before you jump to conclusions! Don’t deprive yourself of traveling to a destination and missing out on having a memorable experience because you haven’t done your own research. As always thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on the safety of women in Dubai?