Is it a Crime to be Sexually Assaulted in Dubai?

By Diego Delso (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsIt was disheartening to read last week that a British woman is being held in Dubai pending legal proceedings after being arrested by the police when she reported being raped.  News report.

We highlighted the case of a Dutch woman held under similar circumstances in Qatar earlier in the year, but as Dubai gets almost five times as many visitors it’s worth reiterating this threat to women travellers even in ‘friendly’ Gulf states.

Any country with a legal system based on Sharia law will act in the same way if you approach the authorities for this sort of crime.  This is why you should seek the advice of your Embassy in the first instance.

It is essential to understand the environment you and your colleagues or employees are travelling to and to appreciate that no matter how the country likes to promote itself or how visitors perceive it, the reality may be a very different matter when incidents occur.

If you are sending women or LGBT employees to the Middle East have you educated or trained them in the risks they might face?  The widespread adoption of equality regulations in the workplace shouldn’t blind organisations to the fact that their different travelling populations may face real and varied risks on the ground elsewhere, and there is therefore a need for appropriate targeted training.  Our My Travel Wise course highlights just such differences and potential problem areas and can help prepare individual travellers for the risks that they might face anywhere in the world.

Saul Shanagher