Runaway Saudi Woman

Today in the news there was a story about a 25 year old Saudi lady called Hayat. She was caught in K0shi, India after she had run off with her driver, Abdulrahman. The couple managed to travel out of Saudi Arabia on forged passports. She told the Indian authorities that she came to India so that she could marry Abdulrahman but she’s already married to Abdulrahman’s boss here in Saudi Arabia who happens to be a much older Saudi man.

This got 627 comments which is a number not many articles get. People were so shocked and put the blame mostly on the Saudi airport for not catching her and her family for not raising her right.



Filed under Child marriages, Culture, Gender Apartheid, Injustice

10 responses to “Runaway Saudi Woman

  1. I blame her family too…
    For not marrying her off to a compatible nice young man. One who would have loved her and whom she would have loved.
    Or perhaps (gasp!) leaving her free to study or in case she had found a compatible mate herself, let her marry him.
    Seriously worried about what’s going to happen to her now.

  2. DW

    I think I read in Al Watan that her mother roots are from India. I have many mixed feelings about this.. but my only voice about it.. is good luck Haya.

  3. B.

    to Aafle

    what makes you so sure that she wasn’t married on her own free will to her other husband, regardless I think running after another man when you’re already married is not only wrong but immoral.

  4. B. I’m not really sure, I was a bit rash to presume perhaps.
    But I give it a big chance statistically. Basically I agree it’s an immoral thing to do. But it also greatly depends on circumstances.

    If she made the decision to marry herself, I’d probably think she should deal with it, or end the marriage in a more responsible way. Which is an option in the Netherlands, but not so much in Saudi Arabia. If the option of a ”normal” divorce is not available, running away may be your only option. If one is left no options the immorality becomes the responsibility of those imposing the rules and leaving no other way out.
    If she is one of those girls who were forced into marriage with an old man at a very young age, and then mistreated and abused I think she has every right to get out any way possible.

    So it would really depend on the circumstances, and I don’t know them, I was a bit on edge yesterday, and assumed something like option 2, and got all fired up. Thinking about it with a cool head one really can’t say with the minimal information provided.

  5. B.

    by the way you said “Karachi, India” I’m pretty sure Karachi is in Pakistan

  6. Saif

    If it was a practice that a driver take her arround to the place where she wanted to go than I blame her husband he should have let her young atractive girl to driven out with a male drive. that is why our religion (Islam) no woman goes out without a Muhrim.

  7. Savi

    To B:

    If Hayat had been married to this older Saudi man of her own free will, why would she run away, knowing that:
    a) she brought this (whatever ‘this’ might be) on herself
    b) choosing to run away would only and only end badly for herself!
    If in such a situation, I think any woman in her right mind would think to confront her spouse, first.
    But seeing as she clearly was not in her right mind, she decided that she’d much rather run away with a driver than confront this husband of hers
    I tend to agree with Aafke’s statement:
    “If she is one of those girls who were forced into marriage with an old man at a very young age, and then mistreated and abused I think she has every right to get out any way possible.”

    To Saif:
    Who then would drive her around, Saif?
    The last I heard, women in Saudi do not have the right to a driver’s license!
    Anyway, that’s besides the point.
    If Hayat was looking for affection (possibly because of something lacking in her relationship with her husband), she could have found it anywhere, be it in the driver or a roadside beggar!

  8. sameera

    Why didn’t she say ‘no’ at the time of the marriage when the shiekh askes both the man and the woman if they agree to the marriage?
    In Islam marriage is a contract to which both parties agree. Women should use the rights given to them by Allah. I suggest be strong right at the beginning rather than when things get more complicated and more people are involved.
    Why not be bold enough to take a step then rather then when its too late.
    If we dont use our rights at the correct time out of fears and pressures only we are to be blamed for our weakness.

  9. Sameera–I agree, but perhaps this is infinitely harder said than done in some situations, where family suasion intimidates free will granted by Allah.

    The comments on the original article are interesting and include a variant on “Madame Bovary syndrome”, ie Madame Bovary inspired by reading too many romantic novels, and uninspired by her conventional country physician husband, ran off with a romantic visitor–less romantic after the running off. In the comments there is a suggestion that Hayat watched too many Indian movies, and conflated cinema and reality. Possible.

    As a former double major English and French lit I feel obliged to toss in “Lady Chatterly’s Lover syndrome”, ie “consorting” with someone of a much lower social class. Aside from the scandal about a book that was explicit, for the time, about such things as “non-missionary position” sex, a big part of the scandal was crossing social class boundaries, made totally explicit in the novel by the gamekeeper-lover’s accent in English, and no attempt to make him a Lord in disguise, or one fallen out of favour at court, or switched at birth–plot devices used in other instances so that such relationships could “pass”. (the obscenity trials turned on the uses of the f* and c* words though).

    Lady Chatterley’s husband was paralyzed and impotent, and the gamekeeper, Oliver’s, wife had a “brutish” sexuality, so they were deemed to have made an excellent mind-body match.

    For Hayat’s well being I hope she, like the 18th century heroine of “She Stoops to Conquer”, chose to be with someone with the Indian resources, and wasta to protect her from the “older Saudi” which seemed to spell ominous reprisals to the commentators on the original article–someone she mistook for a driver, but who is really the black sheep of a prominent and forgiving family. Probably not.

  10. simv

    So if I run out of Saudi Arabia, they will catch me back?

    if thats it, I have to find another way.

    anyway I really appreciate her because she tried to do something for her self insted of being abused and living for others wills, I hope her good luck in her future running away.

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