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August 26, 2012 / Man in the Mirror

Gulf News: Experts: Sue rapists in civil court

In the hours and days after falling prey to brutal sexual assaults, less than half of female victims actually report the crimes to authorities, federal statistics from the United States suggest.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest Network says that “54% of rapes and sexual assault are not reported to the police, according to a statistical average of the past five years. Those rapists, of course, never spend a day in prison. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 3% of rapists ever serve a day in jail.”

The US statistics are food for thought in other countries around the world where cases of unreported rape incidents may be even higher given conservative social mores which frown upon victims albeit the crimes committed against their person are absolutely no fault of their own.

Leading court officials in the UAE are encouraging female rape victims to bring attackers to justice not only in the criminal courts, but increasingly now in civil courts to file for a financial compensation for a raft of physical and emotional damages.

Advocate Eisa Bin Haidar said: “I urge rape victims to lodge civil lawsuits and claim compensation. Unfortunately many societies perceive rape victims as suspects and not victims. There are many who believe that women subject themselves to certain situations that lead to them getting raped.”

“I strongly believe that this is not true. When a woman gets raped, this is the worst tormenting ordeal that could affect her emotionally. It’s very rare to find a rape victim who manages to overcome what is believed to be a lifelong stigma.” Bin Haidar supports rape victims to lodge civil lawsuits to claim emotional, mental, medical and financial compensation.

The emotional breakdown, fear of stigma and tendency to isolate themselves are what keep most rape victims from taking their rapists to civil courts, according to advocate Ali Mosabah Dahi.

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