Dhahran harassment incident sparks outrage

Updated 08 November 2013

Dhahran harassment incident sparks outrage

A group of young women were repeatedly harassed Tuesday by men at a Dhahran mall, triggering an angry wave of reaction across the country against it.
The two-minute video shows a group of five young women wearing black abayas and headscarves being harassed by a countless number of young men at the Mall of Dhahran.
The men were making funny moves at their victims and verbally abusing them during the terrifying and intimidating chase to the parking lot of the mall. One woman tried to fight back by kicking one of her attackers after he had grabbed her hands in an attempt to hold her tight.
He backed off. “You said you had a knife, show it to me,” the attacker said. “Don’t beat them. Stay away, it is my turn,” another attacker said as he prepared to join his accomplice in the physical and verbal attack.
Bystanders watched the entire episode in shock.
The women appeared defiant until they pulled together to run away in the parking a lot.
The Eastern Province police said on Wednesday that they are aware of the video and they would analyze it to identify the harassers, describing the incident as “inappropriate behavior.”
When identified, the harassers will be summoned and investigated by the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution, said Lt. Col. Zayad Al-Ruqaiti, spokesman of the Eastern Province Police. No official notification has been received from the women or the mall management, he said.
The chairman of the Eastern Province Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, Hai’a has contacted the governor of Alkhobar to arrest the harassers and take necessary legal actions, said Dibaikhi Al-Dibaikhi, spokesman of the Eastern Province Hai’a.
The Mall of Dhahran where the incident took place appeared to have loose security on Wednesday during a tour by Arab News, which might have let the incident go out of control at the mall exit gate. Mansor Al-Haqas, security manager at the mall, said "I didn’t see the video but the incident didn’t take place inside the mall.”
The incident, which was caught on video camera and went viral on social media websites over the past two days, has revived calls for taking street harassment seriously through enacting and enforcing strict law against harassers.
A Twitter hashtag for the incident has received an avalanche of public anger and contempt for this “ugly behavior of a group of scumbags,” said Ali Al-Dhab’an, calling on authorities to identify the harassers and bring them to justice.
There is an urgent need for clear-cut harassment laws like in any other country to ward off such unacceptable behaviors, said Saeed Al-Naji and Saleh Al-Ghamdi on their comments on the hashtag.
“It looks like education has failed to instill a sense of morality in these young men and there is a dire need now for strict harassment laws,” said an anonymous blogger. “In absence of the fear of Allah, self-esteem, and strict harassment laws, these young men found no deterrence,” said another one.
This incident is the first to spark public outrage after the 2005 harassment attack by four men on a group of women in Riyadh, which was caught on video as well. The men were identified and brought to justice. They received jail term sentences and lashes.
Saudi Arabia registered 2,797 harassment cases against women in 2012, involving 60 percent Saudi offenders and 40 percent foreigners living in the Kingdom, according to a media report published in August. Riyadh ranked first with 650 cases, followed by Jeddah with 250, the Eastern Province with 210, Makkah with 180, Madinah with 170, and other cases across the country.
Saudi lawyer Bayan Zahran said that there are no harassment laws set in stone in Saudi Arabia, but rather discretionary determined by the judge based on the case context.
“What we saw in the video is a group harassment and terror in front of everybody,” she said.
She urged any women experiencing any type of harassment to report it immediately to the police and get the support needed from their families and society. She called for tight security and monitoring of areas of large gatherings such as malls to prevent such incidents from occurrence.
Society should give women the confidence needed to protect themselves and develop their own personality in the face of danger, she added.

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TheFace: Deema Al-Jaafari, Saudi entrepreneur

Updated 24 January 2020

TheFace: Deema Al-Jaafari, Saudi entrepreneur

  • I truly believe that if you set limits to your abilities you will never be able to exceed them
  • I founded Teak Woodwork in Alkhobar which has extended its services to cities including Jeddah and Riyadh

For nine years, I was the only child in my family. My father was a very independent, strong character and I learned a lot from him.

Having started from zero, he taught me to work hard, seek perfection and always believe that anything was possible if you set your mind to it. 

My mother was very easy going and encouraging. She really believed in me and was always supportive. There was a balance at home for me with these two different characters.

Some people might think that being an only child for quite some time, I was spoiled and dependent. But that was never the case and I have an amazing relationship with my little sister Maha; she is my best friend.

My father works in pharmaceuticals and is chairman of the board of directors at Al-Dawaa Medical Services.

My mother was a schoolteacher before entering the world of business, and my sister is a chemical engineer. Though we are a very diverse family, we all have an appreciation for art which is evident in our household. My mother is an artist and art collector too.

I do not have a role model; there are many people I look up to in the business world and in my social life. 

I studied software engineering and worked in that field for almost a year, but although I learnt a lot I wanted more from my career. Software engineering made me think and solve problems in a different way and it played a major role in how I operate in the field of business.

I worked at Al-Dawaa for almost two years and found that I was more attracted to business and marketing than the technical side of things. That is when I decided to take on the family business, Waleed Al-Jaafari Establishment.

I run PIECES, a retail store I founded in Alkhobar in 2012 and later opened a branch in Riyadh in 2014. Now, we are working to make it an online business too.

I noticed that there was a demand in the Kingdom for custom-made furniture, and although some stores offered the service there was little choice. So, I decided to provide high-quality furniture made in Saudi Arabia.

In 2015 I founded Teak Woodwork in Alkhobar which has extended its services to cities including Jeddah and Riyadh. My father has other branches dealing with different fields, but I opted to run the retail store and woodwork services. 

I truly believe that if you set limits to your abilities you will never be able to exceed them. Once you realize that there are no limits, all doors will open for you.