Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Warden Notice 2009-3

Kuwait City, Kuwait
March 5, 2009


To: All American Wardens

From: Consular Section

Subject: Warden Notice 2009 – 3

Please circulate the following message without additions or omissions
immediately to all American citizens within your area of responsibility.

Begin Text.

While the general security condition in Kuwait remains unchanged a recent
assault on an American is a good reminder of the need for security awareness.
Earlier this week a western woman shopping at the Sultan Center in Salmiya was a
victim of an attempted sexual assault at that location. After finishing her
shopping, the woman placed her purchases in the car and went into a store. While
there, she went to the bathroom. As she opened her stall door to exit, a man
was standing there. He pushed her back into the stall and groped her. The
woman fought her way past him and reported the incident to security. The man
unfortunately got away. The woman believes the same individual may have been
following her while she shopped earlier in Sultan Center.

Americans are reminded, as in the past, that it is very important to keep an eye
on who may be observing your activities while shopping or conducting normal
activities in Kuwait. Surveillance is not something that is just done by
terrorists – almost every criminal who commits a crime conducts some sort of
surveillance on their target either seconds, minutes, or hours before trying to
commit a crime or assault a person.

Western women in Kuwait should be particularly vigilant because their dress and
freedom of movement can attract attention, in part because many local women are
dressed much differently. Especially when shopping or going to other public
places in Kuwait, or anywhere in the world, keep the following in mind:

1.Surveillance – think about who may be watching you. If it feels wrong, it
probably is. Alert the local security personnel or store management of anything
you feel is suspicious – Do not keep this information to yourself.

2.If you think you are being followed, make every effort to stay in a very
public place until you can either make contact with the local security personnel
or have some sort of an escort. Do not proceed to your vehicle or enter a
public restroom, thus giving the person following you an opportunity to get you
alone so they can rob or assault you.

3.Exiting/returning to your vehicle – this is the time when all people are
vulnerable because our mind is focused on getting out of the car, watching
traffic, trying to control children, or placing packages in/out of the car.

Especially when returning to your vehicle, it is not a bad idea to look around
your vehicle exterior to search for people or suspicious items. Once in the
vehicle, lock your doors and make sure your windows are up at all times.

4.Last, think about fighting your attacker, especially if the attacker wants to
take you to another location. Do not let that happen.

Once again, the general security level for Kuwait remains the same.

End Text.

March 6, 2009 - Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions


  1. A big piece of advice, is if you notice someone following you, don’t pretend it’s not happening especially when you feel unsafe….look them straight in the eye and give them a dirty look, once or twice. It usually works and shows them you have seen them and you will not be an easy target, so they leave.

    If that doesn’t work, then you can confront them (whilst in a public place) and say something along the lines of…
    “Why the hell are you following me!? Have you no shame!?

    Never be timid or show any fear.

    Comment by MiYaFuSHi | March 6, 2009 | Reply

  2. With all my respect to MiYaFuSHi, I must disagree.

    Please don’t look them in the eye. Please don’t confront them!

    The vast majority are not like the man in this article. A look is a reaction! A reaction to them only encourages a continuation of this pathetic and sad “chase”.

    Best thing to do is IGNORE and to get on with what you’re doing. They will soon pick o someone else. I don’t want to defend it in any way, but as intimidating as it looks, it’s usually innocent.

    Stay in a public area to remain safe.

    Comment by Bu Yousef | March 6, 2009 | Reply

  3. Wow. Reading that gave me the chills.

    Comment by ck | March 6, 2009 | Reply

  4. This applies to everyone. Be smart and wary of anything – this isn’t the same Kuwait from the 70s and 80s when you could leave your car with keys inside and walk into a store, and when families walked comfortable in malls…Things are different now, the lack of strong laws dealing with sexual harassment and the like, plus the ‘demographic’ here, etc – be wary.

    Avoid locations such as elevators, parking lots etc unless there are many present. It’s really common sense.

    Comment by hilaliya | March 6, 2009 | Reply

  5. How about ” Always go shopping or do your errands with another person , NEVER ALONE “

    Comment by daggero | March 6, 2009 | Reply

  6. No CCTV at the store? It would at least show who went into the bathroom!!

    Comment by Ansam | March 7, 2009 | Reply

  7. Daggero, it isn’t possible or convenient to always go with someone. We shouldn’t have to be that afraid.

    I am somewhere between BuYousef and MiYaFuSHi – I might glare. I might go to customer service or security and very obviously point to a man following me. I can see how both direct confrontation and ignoring the person could both be bad choices.

    One thing I learned a long time ago is to be very aware, and if you have any doubts, better safe than sorry. Don’t take chances.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 7, 2009 | Reply

  8. again, you would see less of this thing had previous offenders been punished properly. I would advise yelling really loud so that attention to the situation is given, and possibly acting aggressively and psychologically unstable. i swear it works.

    Comment by Mrm | March 7, 2009 | Reply

  9. Mrm, I am SO glad to see you.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 7, 2009 | Reply

  10. FOLLOW UP similar article from today’s Al Watan:

    KUWAIT: Students at a college in Keifan were shocked to see a man thrashing and dragging a teenage girl who was screaming for help. Security guards tried to intervene but the man fought them off inside the university campus. Some members of the teaching staff immediately called the police while some other students managed to push the man away from the girl. The assailant then tried to push his way through to grab the girl once again but the police arrived by then and arrested the assailant. When questioned about the reason for his attack, he told that he had attacked her because she did not respond to his explicit overtures and had ignored him. So he followed her to the college and attacked her just as she was entering the campus. The girl sustained several injuries to her head and was admitted to the hospital. Police officers however are skeptical and believe that there is more to the story than what appears to be; especially since the girl preferred to remain silent when questioned by them.

    I think screaming is a really good idea.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 7, 2009 | Reply

  11. This is terrible. I had always imagined Kuwait to be rather a safe haven for Western women unlike most other Gulf States, with the exception of Bahrain and Oman.The warden notice seems to prove me wrong.
    The one thing I learned living in Riyadh as a single woman is when you think you are being followed/harassed go up to the fella and ask him at point black – ‘Hal anta Moslem? It never fails.
    Further, all women should carry a mace or at least some chilly flakes in their purse. It also makes much more sense to scream NAR which is Arabic for fire than to scream RAPE, if you want to get help quicker.

    Comment by The Argumentative Egyptian | March 8, 2009 | Reply

  12. Kuwait used to be safe in the 80’s but now it would be wise to accompany your family when they want to go out shopping.
    I think someone needs to import tasers and mace here.

    ps. from some of the newspaper reports, man aren’t safe either ! I’ve never seen so many charges of sodomy in my entire life, yuck !

    Comment by Mathai | March 8, 2009 | Reply

  13. Welcome, Argumentative. The truth is, it is rare that a western woman gets assaulted. I think most guys – rightly so – are reluctant to tangle with us. The kind of wuss that would attack a woman is looking for an easy target, and most of the time, that is not us. 🙂 I am guessing this guy was not quite right in the head.

    If you watch the papers, the majority of women assaulted – rape, beating, abduction – are local women and domestics. If I were a GCC citizen, I would insure that my daughters had serious self-defense training – tae kwan do, etc. and also all kinds of confidence building so that they would be less likely to be targeted.

    My work with rape victims indicated women who walk confidently and are paying attention to their surroundings are less likely to be assaulted. That does not apply, of course, to men assaulting women they know for their own reasons.

    Mathai – mostly, I think Kuwait is pretty safe. You are right, it makes me sick to think of the children assaulted, and that your teen-age son may be as vulnerable as your teen age daughter to rape.

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 8, 2009 | Reply

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