Social stigma 'barrier to reporting rape crimes'
Dubai, January 5, 2010
Social stigma is the major barrier to reporting rape crimes in the UAE, according to a study by a leading online lifestyle research firm.
YouGov Siraj’s lifestyle poll showed that 77 per cent of UAE residents would report rape attacks to the police. However, the majority of women said they would refrain from reporting a rape case. When asked about what discourages them, 55 per cent of female respondents claimed they are worried about family or their own reputation. 49 per cent feared being judged by society or unjustly accused of immoral behaviour.
These are the findings from an Omnibus survey conducted in December. 980 UAE residents were interviewed. The research addresses various topical interests which relate to consumer sentiment towards general lifestyle issues.
'Arab women are less likely to report sexual assaults to the police owing to concerns that the allegations could damage their family’s reputation. This research shows the true power of online research, where opinion can be gathered on very sensitive topics like rape. In many cases women are concerned about ending up on trial, or fear the authorities will uncover other infractions such as visa breaches or consuming alcohol without a licence,' said Iman Annab, CEO, YouGov Siraj.
Although the report shows only 1 per cent of those surveyed have been victims of rape, assault and other violent crimes seem to be common.
When respondents were asked to explain how they are occasionally harassed (other than sexual), 8 per cent of Emiratis and Arab expats and 58 per cent of Westerners and other expats claim being victims of violence or damage threats. Also, more than half of the expats (59 per cent) say they have been victims of road rage or harassment while driving.-TradeArabia News Service