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Libyan Rape Victim Escapes to Tunisia

Libyan Rape Victim Escapes to Tunisia

In late March, Eman al-Obeidy, a Libyan woman, gained international notoriety when she burst into a hotel full of journalists in Tripoli, attempting to tell the story of her brutal sexual assault by Gaddafi’s soldiers.  She was dragged away by hotel staff and government officials as dozens of journalists looked on in horror.  Weeks later, she gave an interview coordinated by Gaddafi’s son, saying that she was raped and tortured by soldiers.  She also said that she lived in fear for speaking out about the crimes committed against her.

Now, CNN is saying that Obeidy has escaped to neighboring Tunisia, leaving with the help of a defecting military officer and his family.  She was wearing a head cover that hid everything except one of her eyes, and although the car was detained several times, they were permitted to go forward after the officer showed documentation.  Obeidy entered Tunisia on a refugee visa, and was met at the border by European diplomats.

She is, however, still uncertain about her future.  “I still do not know what I am going to do. Of course I’d like to see my family,” she said.  She expressed fears that she might have been followed by the Libyan government, and said that she hopes to gain Western protection against any future reprisals from Libya.

Obeidy’s parents were “overjoyed” to hear that their daughter was safe.  In Libya, she had suffered harassment by government officials and her rape case was not progressing.  Her father said that he had not been optimistic about Obeidy’s ability to escape Libya, explaining that he thought Gaddafi’s forces “would do the worst to her, given his past.”

Now, it’s still unclear what Obeidy’s ultimate fate will be.  But at least she’s in the hands of diplomats who can protect her for the time being, and help her develop a plan to keep her safe, and allow her to begin to heal.


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Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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1:46PM PDT on May 18, 2011

good luck to her

11:20PM PDT on May 10, 2011

We all have a duty to help others in need, regardless of the nature or severity of that need. I deplore the phrase "I don,t want to get involved" If you live you ARE involved!! Humans unlike the animal kingdom frequently do not come "up to scratch" within the honour and loyalty stakes!! Rosi Caswell Animal/Human Therapist

4:20PM PDT on May 10, 2011

I admire her courage and tenacity. I pray that her story gets told without any repercussions to her person or her family. What I am afraid are the thousands of other women in Libya and other Mideast countries that raped and living in fear because of the current religious and cultural laws in their countries.

12:51PM PDT on May 10, 2011

I hope she has a better life now that she's out of that hell hole. I'm sure she'll miss her family though.

11:38AM PDT on May 10, 2011

Although I voted "leaning yes" I don't know if the USA can or should protect her in Tunisia----I just hope she's ok there. My heart goes out to her.

9:23AM PDT on May 10, 2011

I hope recent news reports have made it clear that rape and other types of sexual assault are standard treatment for "uppity" women in many parts of the Islamic world. This is what happens to women who take part in demonstrations or champion social justice in other ways.

9:21AM PDT on May 10, 2011

There will be no success until men, of any group, stop treating women as sub human objects that they can do anything with.

7:57AM PDT on May 10, 2011

I salut her for her bravery,I wish her a better future AND justice...IF this is possible in this world!!!

7:07AM PDT on May 10, 2011

I hope they can get her family out to be with her. Otherways I fear the retalitation may be brought upon them to keep her quiet.

12:49AM PDT on May 10, 2011

Good luck to her :)

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