Saudi men blame women's make-up for molestation cases - survey

by Lisa Anderson | | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 8 January 2014 04:22 GMT

A woman speaks on the phone as men ride a motorcycle on a cloudy day in Riyadh, on Nov. 17, 2013. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

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More than four out of five men surveyed believe that women’s elaborate make-up is to blame for a rise in molestation cases in the kingdom

NEW YORK - Most women in Saudi Arabia out in public are shrouded from head to toe in voluminous abayas, but just the sight of their made-up faces is apparently enough to incite men to molest them, according to a new survey reported by Emirates 24/7.

The survey of 992 Saudi men and women, conducted by the King Abdul Aziz Centre for National Dialogue in Riyadh, found that 86.5 percent of the men believed that women’s elaborate make-up is to blame for a rise in molestation cases in the kingdom.

No specific figures on current molestation rates or how molestation specifically is defined are available, but the Saudi authorities reported 2,797 cases of sexual harassment involving women and children in the first 10 months of 2013, with Riyadh leading the list with 650 cases.

The new survey showed that about 80 percent of all those polled blamed lack of specific anti-molestation laws and lack of deterrent penalties as contributing to the problem. “Poor religious sentiment” was cited by 91 percent of those surveyed as another factor and 75 percent also blamed lack of awareness campaigns and warning notices in public places.

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