Tourists visiting Dubai are being advised not to report rape to police following the arrest of a British woman who reported to officers that she was gang-raped by two men. The incident was all over the news on Friday. The woman’s passport was also confiscated following her report of the rape; it’s illegal to have sex outside marriage in the UAE.
The alleged rape victim has been released on bail, but the 25-year-old woman had her passport confiscated, and she’s prohibited from leaving the UAE. The victim’s family claims the woman still needs $30,000 for legal fees and says she’s being treated like the “criminal” even though she was actually the victim of “one of the worst ordeals imaginable.”
It’s not the first case of Western tourists being treated like criminals in Dubai. In fact, a U.K. charity is warning tourists in Dubai not to report any crimes, including rape, to police.
Tourists are advised against reporting rape in Dubai
Radha Stirling, founder of a charity called Detained in Dubai, which assists people who have become victims of injustice in the UAE, advises tourists visiting the country not to report rape because of “racist” preconceptions against Western nationals.
“We get people contacting us asking whether they should report a crime and – whether it be a rape or anything else – I often say no. Absolutely not,” Stirling told the Independent.
Stirling added that incidents like this are “not uncommon” in the UAE, of which Dubai is the most populated city. There’s a high risk of victims of crimes suffering “a double punishment” due to the country’s abnormal laws. The organization also claims that Dubai thrives on “manipulation when it comes to criminal accusations.”
How the rape happened
The UAE’s laws say that it’s illegal for people to have sex outside marriage. It’s also illegal for a single person to have sex with a married person.
The British woman who was arrested after reporting that she was gang-raped is yet another indication that Britons are being mistreated in the UAE. The U.K.’s Foreign Office has previously claimed that Britons are more likely to be arrested in the UAE than in any other country.
Some sources are reporting that the 25-year-old victi,m Zara-Jayne Moisey, is single after splitting from her husband. However, other reports claim that Moisey could still be married. The woman, who in any other civilized country of the world would be treated as a victim of sexual abuse, was charged with the offense of extramarital sex.
Moisey was on a five-day vacation in the UAE. The woman even ditched her IT consultancy career to head off on a round-the-world trip. But her adventures ended in Dubai, when she said two Brits from Birmingham raped her there. The two alleged sex offenders reportedly joined Moisey for a drink at the hotel they were all staying in. After having a few drinks, the two Brits allegedly lured Moisey to a room, where she said they took turns raping her, while filming the whole thing.
“It’s petrifying out here alone,” Dubai rape victim says
“We know who the culprits are but as far as I’m aware West Midlands Police aren’t doing anything,” Moisey’s mother said, as reported by the Sun.
The victim’s family has started an online appeal to raise $30,000 to cover legal fees so Moisey can pay for her defense. So far more than half of the sum has been raised. Moisey opened up about her “nightmare” ordeal in an interview with Mirror and said she is “petrified.” While Moisey is currently staying in a safe house, she sent a message to her father thanking people for support.
“It’s petrifying out here alone but I have to stay strong. There are many hurdles to cross and many emotional, fearful times ahead,” Moisey said.
The sexual abuse allegedly took place on October 23 at Dubai’s Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach hotel, where one night costs nearly $200. According to reports, the two alleged sex offenders were arrested at the Dubai airport shortly after the incident. They have been identified as Thai boxer David Butlin, 22, and football player Louis Harris, 24. The two have reportedly posted bail and are said to be still in the UAE.
“Tremendously disturbing” treatment of rape victims in Dubai
Despite the horrific ordeal, Moisey told her supporters on Facebook that she’s trying to stay “positive and focused.” Moisey admitted that the support “helps me a lot because it makes me realize that you are all so loving and supportive and I feel like I’m talking directly to each and every one of you.”
Stirling, director of Detained in Dubai, also said that the UAE’s treatment of rape victims is “tremendously disturbing,” adding that the country is infamous for “penalizing” rape victims.
“Police regularly fail to differentiate between consensual intercourse and violent rape. Victims go to them expecting justice, and end up being prosecuted,” Stirling said.
She argued that the UAE police not only invalidates people’s victimization but also punishe them for it.
Incidents like this are common in Dubai
What Stirling says appears to be true. As disturbing as it might sound, such incidents are pretty common in the UAE. In 2008, a woman from Australia was locked up for eight months, accused of having an illegal sexual relationship after she reported being drugged and raped by three co-workers in the UAE. A year later, a woman from South Africa was jailed in the UAE for seven months after allegedly having sex with her male employer. She was jailed despite medical reports showing that the two had never engaged in sexual intercourse.
“Dubai struggles to maintain its promoted reputation of being tolerant, modern, progressive and focused on happiness and positivity,” Stirling said, adding that the UAE continues to regularly victimize women for reporting crime.