Several months after the Saudi parliament passed a new law that gives legal authorities the right to order "defamation" of sexual harassers through posting their names in national newspapers, the Saudi Prime Ministry has finally certified the law; making it effective immediately.
رسمياً:— Screen Mix (@ScreenMix) January 12, 2021
الموافقة على التشهير بالمتحرشين في السعودية. pic.twitter.com/AFetJBsCkj
Translation: "It's official, defaming sexual harassers law has been passed in Saudi."
In what has been deemed as a victory for Saudi women who have reported sexual harassment in public spaces for years, a Saudi judge can now issue a defamation verdict against individuals found guilty, as part of their punishment.
Such a rule is particularly significant in the Saudi community, where fear of social exclusion and judgment from the local community can serve as a great deterrent that can stop or at least limit the number of such incidents.
افضل قرار ، لان المتحرش يخاف من التشهير و سمعته اكثر من ربه— سلطان / Sultan (@ultan43661213) January 12, 2021
Translation: "Best decision, harassers fear for their reputation more than they fear God."
في اعتقادي الشخصي التشهير يعود بضرر للأهل أكثر من الشخص نفسه .— عادل (@v1FhtIbSaXJxOvg) January 12, 2021
Translation: "I personally think this harms their families more than harassers themselves."
As soon as the law was certified, social media users expressed their relief over legal efforts to provide a better environment for women in Saudi, which can be part of many social and legal reforms that are taking place in the Kingdom over the last several years.
In 2018, Saudi women were allowed to issue drivers' licenses for the first time after decades of strong opposition to women's driving.
الخبر منصوص بطريقه ان الدولة هي الي تقر العقوبه او لا وليس المواطنين لهم الحق بالتشهير— TMEM (@tmtmh8) January 12, 2021
Translation: "The law only allows legal authorities to do so, not regular citizens"
However, questions were raised on whether this means banning individuals from speaking up against harassers if lawsuits are not filed properly through courts, as Saudis have been resorting to social media in recent years to report various forms of sexual assault.
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