There was an outpouring of anger and shock from Saudis on Wednesday after a video on YouTube showed a man sexually molesting a seven-year-old schoolgirl in the foyer of her building in Dammam.
The man should be jailed and more awareness campaigns launched to warn children about pedophiles, they said.
The 47-second video, which went viral on social media networks with over 300,000 hits in one day, shows the schoolgirl in her uniform and carrying a backpack, waiting at the elevator when the man shows up.
The man, dressed in a white short-sleeved thobe and skullcap, first walks past her to check if anyone is on the staircase and then turns back to talk to her. He checks the doors to the fire escape and the elevator, and then lifts the little girl’s dress and starts touching her.
He stops as the elevator arrives, and then enters it behind her. The video ends at this point.
In the background, another man can be heard talking to a friend on the phone in Arabic.
The Eastern Province police have launched an investigation into the incident. “It was brought to our notice and we are investigating it,” Col. Ziad Al-Ruqaiti, the Eastern Province police spokesman, told local media on Wednesday.
Muaad Al-Khazi tweeted that “such a man must be brought to justice, jailed and isolated for the rest of his life.”
“Justice must be served by ridding society of those who pollute it like this man,” tweeted Reem Sami.
Lawyer Omar Al-Khouli told a local media outlet that “the video shouldn’t have been published before arresting the culprit. The police should have been informed immediately to monitor the place because the culprit may have returned.”
Al-Khouli said only the victim’s family could file a lawsuit against the pedophile.
Kholood Al-Fahad, a child and women’s rights activist, said the laws against sexual crimes have failed to “raise public awareness about such harassment and domestic violence laws. Unfortunately, such incidents happen on a daily basis.”
Al-Fahad called for the Ministry of Education and Saudi human rights organizations to launch joint campaigns to educate children about their rights and how to behave in such situations.
She said there was still too little enforcement of sexual harassment laws.
Halimah Muthafar, a journalist, tweeted: “When will a strict law against such behavior be enacted and enforced?”
Sukar Al-Amri said schools should include lessons on molestation and harassment for students.
Another user named Noura said that parents should teach their children about sexuality and tell them which body parts people should not touch.
One blogger on Twitter said he was sure that thousands of such incidents have gone unreported and the perpetrators never caught. “Don’t wait for your children to tell you about it. You tell them about it.”
The video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uHRv3zW_Kk.