Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Custodial dad tortures daughters for 19 years, ever since their mom was divorced; authorities refused to help (Abha, Saudi Arabia)

Want to know what unbridled father custody looks like in a country where mothers have no rights?

Three female victims of family abuse are denied helpBy ARAB NEWS

Published: Dec 7, 2011 13:50 Updated: Dec 7, 2011 13:50

ABHA: Three sisters suffering from domestic abuse in Khamis Mushayt say they fear for their safety as authorities are not taking swift enough action to protect them.

The young women who managed to run away from their homes have been given temporary shelter at Asir Central Hospital in Abha after being allegedly abused by their father and brothers.

However, hospital authorities ordered them to leave in a few days, despite the father threatening to lock them up in the cellar, Al-Riyadh daily reported on Monday.

The women complained their father and brothers have been torturing them ever since their mother was divorced 19 years ago. They are not allowed to leave their house, talk to anyone, or even go to a hospital because the father feared doctors might discover evidence that they had been abused.

The father told other people in the neighborhood that the girls were under a magic spell and they were being treated.

Even their attempt to get legal protection from Abha General Court has proved futile.

The judge refused to take up the case and said the court in Khamis Mushayt should consider the matter as it is more local to the father. There are only 26 kilometers between Khamis Mushayt and Abha.

This decision has left the women in limbo as nobody will be willing to drive them because women traveling without a mahram (legal guardian) is illegal. If the father lodges a complaint the driver would be punished.

Even action taken by the Human Rights Commission, which says its role is only a monitoring one, has not been swift enough to give them the protection they desire.

The commission took four months to forward the girls’ complaint to the Social Affairs department, the women said. After six months, a Social Affairs committee paid them a quick visit and took their statements in a rushed manner, they said.

Their only hope now is to get admitted to the orphanage in the city. They are willing to work there in return for the protection it would offer them from their relatives.

The oldest of the women, 29, who refused to reveal any part of their names for fear of retribution from their father, said he tortured them to take revenge on their mother.

Member of the National Human Rights Society Maatouq Al-Sharif said the Social Affairs department does not investigate a family abuse case unless contacted by the police or if victims carry clear marks of physical violence.