Historian explains: Why women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia?
He claims that Western women drive cars because they do not care if they are “raped by the roadside”.
Dr Saleh al-Saadoon appeared on a liberal TV show – Rotana Khalijia TV, to justify the controversial ban in Saudi Arabia by saying that women could be attacked and sexually assaulted if their car broke down midway.
He suggested with profound confidence that women in the West “don’t care” about being raped, whereas people in Saudi Arabia do.
In December 2014, it was announced that two women who flouted the driving ban were to be tried in a special court for terrorism.
“They don’t care if they are raped on the roadside – but we do,” he told his host Nadeen Bdeir, according to a translation from the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri).
“Hold on, who told you that they don’t care about getting raped by the roadside?” she asked incredulously.
“It’s not a big deal for them beyond the damage to their morale,” Dr al-Saadoon claimed. “In our case, however, the problem is of a social and religious nature.”
“What is rape if not a blow to the morale of a woman?” the host questioned. “That goes deeper than the social damage.”
He went on to argue that Saudi women being driven around by their male family members is something they should acknowledge and appreciate. “Everybody is at their service. They are like queens,” he said.
“A queen without a chauffeur has the honour of being driven around by her husband, brother, son and nephews. They are all at the ready for when she gestures with her hand.”
When his claims were countered by the fact that women have been raped by their drivers, Al-Saadoon proposed another way of tackling the issue.
The solution is to bring in female foreign chauffeurs to drive our wives,” he said, to which his host put her head in her hands and asked: “Seriously!?”
Rotana Khalijia is an Arabic TV show that discusses women’s rights and human rights issues, according to Memri. The episode first aired on 11 January 2015 and was uploaded onto YouTube on 31st January.