Eman Al Obeidi iconic Muslim woman victim sued by her rapists

A Point of View, Libya, Middle East & North Africa, Politics | | March 29, 2011 at 11:54

Eman Al Obeidi has committed several crimes in her culture. First she’s a woman. Second she has political opinions contrary to the ruling regime. In this case it’s Gaddafi. Third she was raped which is apparently more a crime for the woman than the assaulter.

Finally she dared to speak out in front of foreign journalists at Hotel Rixos in Tripoli. That led to her being manhandled into a car in front of world cameras and disappearing down the street, leaving an outraged press corps manhandled themselves by their own government handlers.

Attempts at public humiliation on Libyan State TV followed, casting her as crazy, comparing her to a prostitute, and calling her a traitor. She had supposedly shamed her family and her country by publicly telling her story of seizure at a checkpoint, detention for two days, and rape by 15 men who were not content to violate her sexually, but also defecated and urinated on her.

No one knows outside of the regime where Eman is being held. They report she has been released, but just like Libyan ceasefires, the reports turn out to be nothing.  The international press says it keeps asking about her. But Moussa Ibrahim, Libyan government spokesman, fends off questions by declaring that Libya is a conservative country and out of deference for the woman they called insane and drunk, will not speak of such matters in public. They have no problem with airing Eman’s story on State TV though.

Her family has spoken on camera for Al Jazeera. Her cousin, her father draped in Free Libyan flag, and her mother all support for her. Eman was just married in absentia to her fiance. Her mother says she was offered money and a house to convince her daughter to change her story. But instead, she told her to stick with the truth.

YouTube – Eman Al-Obeidi’s Father Speaks- والد ايمان العبيدي ليبي(ENGLISH subtitles) http://bit.ly/hI5oKB
Enraged mother stands by daughter, allegedly raped by Gadhafi’s men – CNN.com http://bit.ly/eESeBY

Street demonstrations in Benghazi have women coming out in her support. There have been demonstrations in London. More are planned for other cities. Rather than being viewed as a shamed woman, Eman is being hailed as a political prisoner and heroine of the Libyan uprising against Gaddafi.

But that’s not the end of this strange tale that gives us a tiny glimpse not only into the dark regime of Gaddafi, but also the dark world in which far too many Middle Eastern women are imprisoned.

Now it is announced that she is being sued by her alleged rapists. You see the problem is that she identified one of her captors as a cousin of Muammar Gaddafi.

She was taped at the police station, lying on the floor. The voices of a man and woman are recorded, both asking her questions and commenting about her. At one point the woman’s voice says, “Did she have to name HIM?”

The man asks in a perfectly quizical tone, “Why is she acting this way? She’s not the first woman to have experienced this.”

How do I know this? The tape was aired on State Libyan TV.

More on the story: Libya woman being sued by her alleged attackers | Reuters http://reut.rs/eu1eKG

More on women’s plight in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia – the biggest women’s prison in the world http://bit.ly/h4LQV4

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