Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Rape in Kuwait

This is a very difficult post. Rape is a terrible subject. Coolfreak in his blog IheartKuwait wrote a heartbreaking post about a young woman raped recently in Kuwait, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

Rape has been the subject of several editorials in the Kuwait Times. Rape of children, abduction and rape of young women, abduction and rape of domestic servants, rape of domestics on the job site, abduction and rape of young men. . . rape is prominent DAILY in the crime column. Rape is epidemic in Kuwait, so common that people seem to think that there is nothing that can be done.

People can wring their hands. People can moan about how wrong it is. But what is being done for the victims of rape?

In California, volunteers put together rape crisis centers. At first, these centers were totally staffed and funded by volunteers and volunteer fund raising. The volunteers, with their own funds, established a 24 hour hotline, with an answering service, that rape victims could call and reach a rape counselor.

Counselors would accompany victims to the hospital, explain procedures, and explain the victim’s options. Counselors would help the victim on the long journey to feeling safe once again, and to feeling some remnant of control over their lives.

Members of the rape crisis centers created education programs, and worked with both police and hospitals to establish procedures working with rape victims. Police were counselled on how to work with the traumatized victims, and police worked with the crisis workers to create new, enforceable laws against the rapists. It was the beginning of the victim advocacy program that is now common in most western countries. Most law enforcement agencies now have paid staff to work with crime victims en route to criminal procedings against the “perp” and subsequent counselling. Victims can testify at parole hearings against probation.

Rape is an outrage – against the individual, and against the community. Rape is less about sex than about power and humiliation. Have you noticed when serial rapists are caught, they turn out to be pathetic losers? They carry a huge burden of inadequacy combined with feelings of entitlement. The most appropriate penalty is their exposure through the court systems, and imprisonment, with those who, like themselves, think like predators.

But we must do what we can do to help the victims, to provide them with counselling and resources to speed their recovery. To create strong laws which protect the community by keeping the predators off the streets. To create procedures where evidence can be gathered and stored, and DNA samples compared so that offenders can be charged, and tried, and convicted.

Hats off, by the way, to the young man Coolfreak with the courage to first blog about this outrage. I find his blog brave and creative and refreshing and amusing and stimulating. Check it out.

December 19, 2006 Posted by | Blogging, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, News, Social Issues, Uncategorized, Women's Issues | 11 Comments