Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Rape in Dubai

I saw this in ChillNight’s blog yesterday with a link to the Herald Trib, which wouldn’t work for me. Today, my niece,Little Diamond, sent me the same article with a link to the New York Times which did work. This is the third most e-mailed article this week; it is attracting a lot of attention world wide. About time.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 31 — Alexandre Robert, a French 15-year-old, was having a fine summer in this tourist paradise on the Persian Gulf. It was Bastille Day and he and a classmate had escaped the July heat at the beach for an air-conditioned arcade.

Just after sunset, Alex says he was rushing to meet his father for dinner when he bumped into an acquaintance, a 17-year-old native-born student at the American school, who said he and his cousin could drop Alex off at home.

There were, in fact, three Emirati men in the car, including a pair of former convicts ages 35 and 18, according to Alex. He says they drove him past his house and into a dark patch of desert, between a row of new villas and a power plant, took away his cellphone, threatened him with a knife and a club, and told him they would kill his family if he ever reported them.

Then they stripped off his pants and one by one sodomized him in the back seat of the car. They dumped Alex across from one of Dubai’s luxury hotel towers.

Alex and his family were about to learn that despite Dubai’s status as the Arab world’s paragon of modernity and wealth, and its well-earned reputation for protecting foreign investors, its criminal legal system remains a perilous gantlet when it comes to homosexuality and protection of foreigners.

You can read the rest of the article at The New York Times.

Of course, I am sick for the victim, sick for his parents, and sick for a nation that can’t and won’t prosecute the rapists, even with evidence, and warns the victim to leave the country because he is about to be accused of the crime of homosexuality.

Rape is an invisible crime. You can’t look at someone and see they have been raped. Many, many rape victims never report the crime. This 15 year old kid has the courage to go public with probably one of the most humiliating crimes that can happen to a person and HE is threatened with prison?

November 2, 2007 - Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Crime, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, Detective/Mystery, ExPat Life, Family Issues, News, Social Issues, Travel


  1. Heart breaking to hear these incidents. Last time was about a
    Filipina maid who was gang raped in Kuwait(in August, I think).
    I was actually tracking the newspaper to see if any verdict was passed on those rapists. Sadly, there was no news after that(about the rapists and the victim).

    Comment by Joel Robinson | November 2, 2007 | Reply

  2. sick, sick, sick – and the sickest part is the doctor’s, the government’s, and the legal system’s response. I’m so glad you posted this – Alexandre Robert is a very brave young man, and his parents and his government are to be commended for supporting him so whole-heartedly.

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | November 2, 2007 | Reply

  3. Great. As if Arab countries don’t have a bad reputation already, and now Dubai comes and does this. More reasons to hate us. I bet FOX NEWS staff are very happy with this piece.

    I really hope Dubai (and other Gulf countries) considers revising their laws and judicial system because they are definitely not doing the job done. And this case is a big testament how stupid and retarded some of our laws are.

    Comment by Angelo | November 2, 2007 | Reply

  4. Well I’m not saying that it’s not distrubing, its actually a very vulgar thing to happen. But it’s actually not hard to tell if someone’s been raped. You can’t see it from just looking at a person but a doctor can observe closely and tell. So the boy and his family shouldn’t be worrying too much about having to leave the country…

    Comment by telebuild | November 2, 2007 | Reply

  5. Joel – it’s a world wide thing, and it’s about the worst violation one person can inflict on another, it’s so personal. Bureaucracies don’t know how to deal with it, victims are too ashamed to report it (as if they were to blame!) and families have a hard time dealing with the aftermath. It is tragic.

    Little Diamond – I am horrified at the Doctor’s report, and at the fact that they all hid that one of the rapists was HIV+. I suspect everyone is just mortified, and the evasion is part of embarrassed behavior.

    Angelo – It’s not like the Arabs have a monopoly on rape, my friend. Don’t worry; pardon my cynicism, but it’s just another rape. Ruanda, the Balkans, Dharfur – wherever there is conflict, especially tribal/territorial conflict, rape is a fact of life.

    Telebuild – This boy was smart, and his family backed him up and he went straight to the doctor, that’s how they have the DNA evidence. In many cases, victims wait too long, and much of the physical evidence disappears. And signs of violence, bruising, struggle – these are NOT always easily documented; sometimes they cannot tell.

    Did you read the article? The rapists in this Dubai case – as in many cases – were armed, they threatened the 15 year old boy with knives and a club, also with hurting his family. Victims who are scared do what they are told. It’s still rape – having sex because you are afraid of being hurt or killed is still rape, it’s not consensual.

    The boy has left the Dubai and is attending a private school. If you read the article, you will understand his attorney was told that the boy was going to be charged as a homosexual, because he was raped by three males.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 2, 2007 | Reply

  6. ‘The boy has left the Dubai and is attending a private school. If you read the article, you will understand his attorney was told that the boy was going to be charged as a homosexual, because he was raped by three males.’

    what a crazy world we live in.. i pray for the victims of such crimes, may they be given justice.

    Comment by kengkay | November 2, 2007 | Reply

  7. Disgusting and makes me sick to read about rape of young boys.

    I am sure what we read about is only a fraction of what really goes on unreported.

    Comment by jewaira | November 3, 2007 | Reply

  8. […] ako sa mismong at may nakapagbigay sa akin ng pansin na temang manyak na naman… Rape in Dubai from Here, There and Everywhere. Ganito na ba talagang kahindik-hindik ang mundo natin at bawat […]

    Pingback by Mga Manyak sa Dubai « | November 3, 2007 | Reply

  9. Kenkay – Prayers are appropriate, and I am sure his family welcomes them. When a family member is raped, it can seriously damage a family’s ability to believe in the almighty God.

    Lady J – I’m with you, Lady. The idea of anyone violating another man, woman or child makes me outraged and sick at the same time. You are right, too, about the unreported rapes. Many people – in every society – won’t report because rape is one crime where society tends to blame the victim. What we see is the tip of the iceburg.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 3, 2007 | Reply

  10. I am gobsmacked the spin machine, which is the emirate of Dubai, could not prevent this story from making big news in the NY Times.

    Alexander’s has echoes of a similar tragedy to affect a certain Muktar Mai in Pakistan. I recently got a chance to read her book and I strongly recommend it to anyone working even remotely, in the rehab of rape victims in this country.

    Comment by born again prostitute in Dubai | November 5, 2007 | Reply

  11. A cynic, BL, might think the fact that he is French helped him get his story out. What might you think?

    Isn’t Muktar Mai the woman who was gang raped in retaliation for the rumor that her 11 year old brother seduced a married woman? Didn’t she do a tour recently, and donate all the proceeds from her book to establish a center for rape victims in Pakistan?

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 5, 2007 | Reply

  12. i’m very sad to hear this story, at the same time i’m very shame abut what that local boys did to this victim. however, i want to say that even in modern countries such as US UK or France raping is exist, millions of under 10 years children
    were raped there and you all know this. In addition peple are killed in the name of peace and justice!!!

    But when it comes to Arab or Muslim country its the end of
    the world!!!

    Comment by Dubai Voice | November 10, 2007 | Reply

    • intlxpatr, you are right saying that these kind of horrendous crimes occur also in the western countries, but be sure that only in muslim countries can happen to prosecute the victims charging with homosexuality or adultery or whatever, instead of supporting them and make justice.

      Comment by adam | March 2, 2011 | Reply

    • sorry, my reply was for Dubai Voice

      Comment by adam | March 2, 2011 | Reply

  13. Dubai Voice, You are right, and rape offends me in every country. I first started working with rape victims in the US. Rape is everywhere, and it isn’t about sex, it is about power, and the ability to inflict oneself upon another. Until we recognize how wrong it is, it won’t be stopped.

    It’s the end the the world for every rape victim in the world, at least for a short time. Most overcome the horror of it, and many get their vengence in court, as this brave 15 year old boy is doing.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 10, 2007 | Reply

  14. I empathise with the boy and his family. This is a terrible, demoralising experience for any person to go through regardless of race, creed or colour.
    I see that people are appealing to this supposed wealthy Arab state to revise it laws, after this terrible incident! Why only now? Why must something dreadful and irreversible happen before laws are amended for the wellbeing of any human-being.
    A friedly reminder, Most of the Arab States’ laws are designed to protect their reputation, at the expense of innocent human beings. They would lie and twist things around; swear by God a thousand times, and still look you straight in the eye with a smile. Totally contrary to Islam.

    Please, I earnestly appeal to the readers to distinguish between Islam and the Arab Culture. It is not the same. Remember that there are many Muslim, from very poor countries who suffer worse experiences. These people know hardship too well and are manipulated to endure Gang Rape by brothers and in a family, Physical and Emotional Abuse from the daughters and mothers.

    It is clear that the Arabs (good ones apart! of which there are very few) have no regard for sacredness life and a persons dignity ordained by God. (A trait which share very well with their couzins the Jews and the Europeans)

    I wish the Indonesians, Pakistanis and Indians would open their eyes. Their children are recruited and even sold to Arabs on the pretext as au pairs and home care nurses. The first thing these young innocent girls and tea boys suffer is rape.
    Many have complained and laid charges only to be imprisoned themselves as sex solicitors
    (Prostitutes, Homosexuals). And the perpetrators get away, because they are Arabs! Their names remain clear.

    The Masters and Servants Act is alive and kicking in this supposedly wealthy country. When the oil is gone, there will be nothing for the Arabs to show, but their naked barbarism and their sub-human, animal-like culture.

    I appeal to you again, to please distinguish clearly between Islam and Arabs. They are very different!

    Comment by idah | November 28, 2007 | Reply

  15. In every country in the world, IMHO, there are still outdated laws – or NO laws – regarding rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, etc – on the books. It isn’t something that just happens in wealthy Arab states. It isn’t Islamic, it isn’t Christian, it isn’t anything except power, and humiliation. Rape is about human nature, and we need laws to give people a standard to live up to, and a standard by which to hold people accountable. And then, we need to educate the population, we need to educate the police and care-givers, and we need to enforce those laws.

    No one is above the law. Those who believe themselves entitled to do as they please should face justice. We know they will, ultimately, have to answer for their behavior, and they also need to be held accountable by the state in which the crime – and rape is a crime – is committed.

    May the rapist burn in hell.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 28, 2007 | Reply

  16. Yes arabs do not punish other arabs who do wrong, even when you go to saudia arabia they bend the sharia to suit their own purpose ,it seems to me the indians and africans and philipinos catch hell. Arabs act like saudia arabia is a utopia and it not, They are very hard hearted just like the israelis there no difference very closed minded people,its a shame I know there is a lot of homosexuality going on in the arabian countries its just hidden because they do want to die.Its total hippocracy and disgraceful not to prosecute the crimmals who raped to boy or the philipina in kuwait.

    Comment by rick | December 17, 2007 | Reply

  17. Rick, I appreciate your visit. You will notice I edited you; I don’t allow people to make broad stereotypical comments about other peoples. You can discuss behavior, but not label people.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 17, 2007 | Reply

  18. My friend who’s also a victim has been detained for being RAPED by a Tunisian… Justice in Dubai? You decide!

    Jailed rape victim in Dubai coming home soon
    12/17/2007 | 07:14 PM

    Email this | Email the Editor | Print | Digg this | Add to The Filipino waitress who was raped by her Tunisian supervisor but ended up in jail had finally been released and will soon be home to spend the Christmas holidays with her family in the Bicol region.

    Fellow Filipinos Gigi Cuaya and Cecile Lorenzo shouldered the plane fare of 18-year-old Rowena (not her real name) so she could be released from jail and return to the Philippines.

    Olga Gonzales, a friend and former co-worker of Rowena at a French restaurant in Dubai, said Rowena was already set to be sent to the airport on Monday and was on waitlist for the 7 p.m. flight of Cathay Pacific, with a stopover in Hong Kong.

    “Ipagdasal po natin na matuloy siya later and patuloy pa rin po natin siyang isama sa panalangin natin na sana ay maging matatag siya at harapin niya ang bukas na puno ng pag-asa,” said Gonzales in an e-mail to GMANews.TV.

    She thanked kind-hearted souls who helped Rowena in her ordeal in Dubai, particularly Ronald Victorino who worked hard to secure Rowena’s exit visa.

    Gonzales said that after Rowena’s ordeal saw print in GMANews.TV on Dec. 7, she received a number of inspiring feedback, including one who shouldered Rowena’s plane ticket to Manila.

    “Napakalaki ng pasasalamat ko sa inyong lahat, Tinatanaw ko po itong utang na loob sa inyo,” said Olga, who herself was fired from the French restaurant when the managers learned she was helping Rowena in her court case.

    “We had an interview last night sa radio station dito sa Dubai, kasama ko si Ms. Gigi Cuaya and Ms. Cecile Lorenzo (ang mga anghel na sumagot sa ticket) at si Mr. Ronald Victorino na lumagare paroo’t parito para lang makuha at magawan ng paraan ang exit pass ng bata,” she said in an e-mail.

    Rowena ended up in jail in August when she reported to the police that she was raped by her Tunisian supervisor. She found out later that her abuser had gone to the police ahead of her and reported that she was mauled by fellow Filipinos.

    Rowena found herself charged with having an illicit affair with the Tunisian, drinking and giving false statements. Late last month, she was found guilty of these offenses, for which she was sentenced to three months in jail.

    Having served the jail term, Rowena was not immediately released because the police waited for her deportation order, according to Gonzales.

    She said the police in Aweer had asked for Rowena’s passport and plane ticket to Manila so she could be repatriated on December 5.

    Come Dec 5, Gonzales said Rowena was told to wait for another two weeks within which the Philippine consulate should have submitted a document stating that Rowena is waiving her right to appeal the cases for which she had been convicted and had served a three-month jail term.

    The Tunisian, a supervisor at a French dining restaurant Rowena used to work at, had been released from prison and sent back to Tunisia.

    The Tunisian was also taken to police custody but his lawyer claimed he was Rowena’s boyfriend, giving the police reason to charge her with carrying on an illicit relationship.

    When Rowena first appeared in court in September, she did not have a lawyer or interpreter, according to Gonzales.

    According to Gonzales, her friend’s ordeal began on a day she reported to work even when she was feeling ill. The restaurant’s catering manager fetched her from the outlet where she was working, supposedly to take her to a physician for treatment.

    During the trial of the three cases filed against Rowena, the same catering manager testified that the Filipina was not raped, but mauled by fellow Filipinos.

    “He was the same catering manager na nagdala kay Rowena at sa rapist sa lugar kung saan siya ginahasa,” said Gonzales.

    Rowena’s version was that she asked to be dropped by her apartment to get clothes before proceeding to the hospital. But then, she was taken instead to the company employees’ quarters. By night time, she was fetched again and brought to the quarters of her manager’s friend.

    “Kampante lang si Rowena dahil sa mga superiors n’ya ang kasama n’ya nang gabing ‘yon. Huli na nang malaman n’yang may binabalak na palang masama ang kanyang supervisor,” Gonzales said.

    The day following the rape incident, Gonzales said the men took Rowena to the police to report that she was beaten by her fellow Filipinos.

    “Pero hindi po nagsalita doon si Rowena kasi ang iniutos sa kanya eh sabihin na binugbog siya ng mga kapwa niya Filipino. Kaya ang nangyari ay nagalit sa kanya ang manager at ikinulong siya sa accommodation at pinabantayan siya sa isang babaeng Tunisian,” she further narrated.

    She said she only learned of Rowena’s ordeal the next day when Rowena managed to sneak out and phoned her.

    “Nakapuslit siya ng tawag kinahapunan sa akin at umiiyak na nagsabi na sunduin ko daw siya at may nangyari daw masama,” Gonzales said.

    “Hindi na po siya iba sa akin kaya dali-dali ko siyang sinundo kasama ng ilang kaibigan. Pinipigilan siya nung babaeng bantay sa paglabas pero nagpumiglas siya at tumakbo palabas. Kinailangan pa niya magtago sa isang tindahan para ‘di siya makita. Monitored namin siya ng telepono kaya alam namin kung saan tumakbo,” she said.

    Rowena was immediately taken to a doctor because she was complaining of body aches and abdominal pains. Gonzales said the Tunisian inserted a roll of tissue in Rowena’s vaginal opening, supposedly to absorb his sperm.

    Gonzales said Rowena was a virgin prior to the rape incident.

    “We went to the hospital na sister company ng company namin kaya lang wala daw silang OB-Gyne kaya lumipat kami ng ibang hospital. They did a series of tests sa Iranian Hospital,” she said.

    After getting the medical examination result, Gonzales said she took Rowena to the police station to report what had happened. They reported the incident to the head office of the restaurant they were working.

    Unfortunately, the restaurant managers refused to believe Rowena and she was instead reprimanded for not reporting the incident to them before going to the police.

    “Sabi ko naman kung ang kaso ay simpleng sampal baka ganoon ang ginawa ko, pero ‘ka ko eh sensitibong kaso ang nangyari,” she said.

    The restaurant managers even terminated Gonzales’s services, apparently because of the support she has been extending to Rowena in pursuing the rape charge against the Tunisian supervisor.

    Days later, Gonzales and Rowena reported the incident to the consulate general. But Gonzales said the initial response they received from the welfare officers was discouraging.

    “Ang reaction nila ay kung bakit ngayon lang daw namin sinabi ito. Dapat daw tinawagan muna sila bago pumunta sa pulis. Tapos po ang sinabi eh wala na silang magagawa dahil nasa prosecutors office na raw ang kaso. Tinanong ko po kung pwede nilang matulungan si Rowena na mailabas, ang sabi po sa akin eh kailangan ibigay sa kanila ang report ng pangyayari,” she said.

    Upon learning of Rowena’s case, the Manila-based Center for Migrants Advocacy sent a letter of request to Consulate General Antonio Curameng in Dubai seeking legal assistance for the abused Filipino.

    Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Libran Cabactulan has advised Filipinos facing legal problems to coordinate with either the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi or the consulate general in Dubai so that they could be properly represented.

    Cabactulan said that without proper legal representation, some victims may run the risk of compromising their case or the evidence they have to present in the court of law. –

    Comment by ORG | December 26, 2007 | Reply

  19. […] gang raped by four men. Expatriates too due to loneliness will rape expatriate women How about this 15 year old French lad who had been sodomized by three native Emirati men? It is really a sick case on a sick gulf nation […]

    Pingback by Rape Is The Highest Salary In Dubai, UAE | | February 28, 2008 | Reply

  20. We ofws should always be very careful, esp. if working or staying in an arab country. They will always take the side of fellow arabs even if evidences against them are very strong. I know of several cases here in dubai where pinoys were clearly the victims of rape, wreckless driver, slavery, etc by arabs but were the ones blamed and put to jail, while the criminals casually walk out the police headquarters. It is so heartbreaking …

    Comment by housewife | July 26, 2009 | Reply

  21. Housewife – Happens all the time. We know that the ones committing the crimes against humanity will have to answer in the afterlife, but for now . . .? We all have to be careful not be be in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong clothing, etc. The house maids have it the worst. . .

    Comment by intlxpatr | July 26, 2009 | Reply

  22. I’ve heard this story a year ago . The three local men are now in jail for another 18 years. Alex’s mom want them to be another 20 years in prison.This life is tuff!!!

    Comment by SOMEONE | May 10, 2010 | Reply

  23. Thanks, Someone. This post is three years old, and still getting a lot of hits. I am just so glad that Alex had the courage to go public and the backing of his family, as he was threatened with jail himself. I am delighted that his attackers are still in jail. I wish other countries in the Gulf would face the problem of men abducting and attacking other men, women and children. It’s one of those shameful but well-known “secrets” that thrives by people pretending it doesn’t exist.

    Comment by intlxpatr | May 11, 2010 | Reply

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