On Wednesday afternoon, a bleeding woman was found climbing an 8-ft wall escaping an alleged sexual assault at the estate of a Saudi prince. The alleged attacker was identified as 28-year-old Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud, a royal member of the House of Saud. Al-Saud was consequently arrested outside his rented, $37 million, 22,000 square-foot property, at the heart of the affluent Beverly Glen area of Los Angeles, on suspicion of forced oral copulation of an adult, reported the Los Angeles Times.
According to CBS News, Al-Saud does not have diplomatic immunity. The Geneva Convention legal precedent dictates that the dignitary status of the accused and the severity of the crime committed must be assessed to determine immunity. It is unclear whether Al-Saud will evade prosecution in the United States and flee to the patriarchal safe-haven of Saudi Arabia.
The incident comes just days after Saudi Arabia’s inexplicable appointment to the United Nation’s human rights panel. UN delegates have yet to comment on the matter. To suggest that Saudi Arabia’s domestic policy toward women is unpleasant is an understatement. Misogyny is sutured into the body politic of Saudi Arabia. Gendered minefields, weaponized as dictates, corporal punishments, and regressive social constructs menace, women from Riyadh to Jeddah.
Saudi laws read like a catalogue of Draconian gender-policing. Women are prohibited from driving, leaving their house without a male relative, referred to as a mahram, and voting in non-municipal elections. This social construction of space and gender serves to marginalize women through a conscious process of othering, reasserting gender hierarchies and its discontents. The House of Saud’s concerted efforts to oppress women is not just a symptom of a single statute or policy, but a syndrome of absolute, totalitarian patriarchy invariably stitched into the fiber of the regime. “Saudi Arabia’s restrictions on women go far, far beyond just driving though. It is a larger system of customs ad laws that make women heavily reliant on men for their basic, day-to-day survival,“ said the Washington Post’s Max Fisher.
For Saudi plutocrats and royals, fueled by oil-wealth, unrestrained carnal indulgence and opulent displays of hedonism are part of the job.
As a groomed and garish child of the regime, Al-Saud follows Saudi suit with his country’s proscriptions against female agency. Al-Saud’s sexual assault comes as no surprise to women’s’ rights groups fighting to prosecute Saudi delegates all around the world for the sexual crimes committed under the cover of diplomatic influence. In fact, last week, Saudi diplomat Majed Hassan Ashoor, escaped prosecution under the auspices of diplomatic immunity after being accused of repeatedly raping and physically abusing two Nepalese maids in India. Nepalese ambassador to India Deep Upadhyay furiously condemned the miscarriage of justice. “The victims must get justice,” announced Upadhyay, demanding a reevaluation of diplomatic immunity procedures.
For Saudi plutocrats and royals, fueled by oil-wealth, unrestrained carnal indulgence and opulent displays of hedonism are part of the job. Living a life of leisure gets boring without Roman-style orgies. While peddling puritanical laws and enforcing harsh punishments against those accused of transgressing literalist Koranic sanctions, Saudi Arabia’s princes can indulge in the splendor of flesh. This religious hypocrisy is exemplified by reports of lavish underground parties thrown by Saudi elites.
According to WikiLeaks cables, the underground party circuit is “thriving and throbbing.” As patron of the Dionysian festivities, the Saudi royal family bathes its members with privilege far beyond the comprehension of ordinary citizens beleaguered by medieval laws. “Alcohol, though strictly prohibited by Saudi law and custom, was plentiful at the party’s well-stocked bar,” cited the cables, “It was also reported that through word-of-mouth that a number of guests were in fact ‘working girls,’ not uncommon for such parties.” Regaled by prostitutes and alcohol, the Saudi elite enjoy “hashish” and “cocaine” behind closed doors, protected by the privacy of gated mansions, high-walls, and armed guards.
Despite an egregious pattern of institutionalized abuse against women, Saudi princes often walk away with impunity, free to continue enjoying their opulent lifestyles. Al-Saud merits the rebuke of the international community, a gesture that unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. Leader of the UN human rights’ panel and key regional ally to the United States, Saudi Arabia is ensconced in the corridors of power. How many more victims have to surface until justice supersedes nepotism?