Saudi Intellectual: Women In U.S. Drive Because They “Don’t Care If They Are Raped”

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 10.58.34 AMWe have yet another example of the twisted view of women in the Saudi Kingdom and the equally twisted view of what appears to pass for an intellectual in Saudi Arabia. Saudi historian Saleh Al-Saadoon told the Saudi news show Rotana Khalijiyya that the reason women in the West drive is that they “don’t care if they are raped on the roadside.” It was particularly offensive from a Saudi academic in a country long accused of having a culture that excuses rape.

When I first saw this interview, I seriously considered the possibility that this was a hilarious spoof on Saudi laws and logic. Then I read news accounts that said that Al-Saadoon was actually serious. It is funny until you consider that a whole nation of women are being kept from equal rights under this type of pseudo-logic.

The statement of Al-Saadoon came in explaining the difference is between women riding camels and driving cars.

During an interview on the Saudi news show Rotana Khalijiyya in January, historian Saleh Al-Saadoon explained that there was a difference between riding camels and driving cars: “If a woman drives from one city to another and her car breaks down, what will become of her?” This led to the obvious observation from the female interviewer: “Well, women drive in America, in Europe, and in the Arab world.”

Al-Saadoon explained that the reason is equally obvious: “They don’t care if they are raped on the roadside, but we do.”

This led the interviewer to say, “Hold on. Who told you they don’t care about getting raped on the roadside?”

Al-Saadoon explained that “It’s not a big deal for them beyond the damage to their morale. In our case, however, the problem is of a social and religious nature.” Oh that explains it.

The next question is a bit confusing but the answer is consistent and equally absurd:

Host: “What is rape if not a blow to the morale of a woman? That goes deeper than the social damage.”

Al-Saadoon: “But in our case it affects the family.”

Host: “What, society and the family are more important than the woman’s morale?”

Al-Saadoon after saying that morale was only “part of the problem”: “Saudi women are driven around by their husbands, sons and brothers. Everybody is at their service. They are like queens. A queen without a chauffeur has the honor of being driven around by her husband, brother, son and nephews. They are at the ready when she gestures with her hands.”

Of course, as we have been discussing, many women would like to forego Al-Saadoon’s royal treatment for a modicum of equal rights.

The host then tried again to return Al-Saadoon to a modicum of sanity: “You are afraid that a woman might be raped by the roadside by soldiers, but you are not afraid that she might be raped by her chauffeur?” the host pointed out.

Al-Saadoon responded: “Of course, I am. There is a solution but the government officials and clerics refuse to hear of it. The solution is to bring female foreign chauffeurs to drive our wives.”


This is when the host appears to cover her mouth in laughter for good reason. Rather than recognizing equal rights, Al-Saadoon believes it is easier to import “foreign chauffeurs” to prevent Saudi women from being raped by men serving as their own drivers.

As you might imagine, Al-Saadoon was not deterred by the laughter, which I expect he is used to:

Al-Saadon: “Why not? Are you with me on this? There might be some considerable opposition to this, but…”

Host: “Female foreign chauffeurs? Seriously?”

Yes, he is serious. That is precisely the problem.

Here is the video:

45 thoughts on “Saudi Intellectual: Women In U.S. Drive Because They “Don’t Care If They Are Raped””

  1. As a person from the USA, I don’t think this is true at all. Women drive in the USA because they need to get places, and a car is faster than bus, train, etc. Women do not drive to be raped, but instead to run errands, go places, etc.

    I call on Saudi to repeal the ban on Women Driving. Nothing in Islam prohibits it. If you look, many other muslim countries allow women to drive. This includes Iraq, Iran, Oman, Turkey, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and others.

  2. It’s interesting that this bothers the blog, but I’ve not found a story in the past few months that discusses the epidemic that is rape and sexual assault against women in our country. This is the actual issue. Who cares that a Saudi “intellectual” said something absurd? Happens all the time in the US and indeed throughout history.

    1. Rape is NEVER okay. It is a violation of the human psyche to physically and emotionally force yourself on another human being against their will and expect them to submit.

      There is no culture in the world where it is truly accepted. It is human bondage.

      Slavery of the soul.

      It needs to end so we can evolve as a species.

  3. Paul C ….when “Dera” and “Ari” (same for our earlier dogs) were young I had to do that too…now I recognize the “warning” bark instead of the “aggression bark and growl,” and can call her off once the dude leaves. She always seems quite proud of herself none the less.

    However, if I hear the “snarl” and more guttural bark, I go to the door to see what it is in fact.

  4. Karen S …your “Hoku” is proudly represented by our “Dera” dog…throws a fit when the postman arrives, in an attempt to drive him away. To her mind it works…because he always leaves…it is a self-reinforcing phenomena. Same for the UPS guy and the FedEx guy…they come, she pitches a fit, and they leave. Simple. I think I’ll get her a “Mission Accomplished” banner for her favorite pillow.

    1. Aridog – my Chow does not realize they have actually left until I have come to the door, opened it, checked and rewarded her. It is a process. 🙂

  5. Karen S…among my neighbors I find the Lebanese the most cosmopolitan, with the Iraqis and Yemenis close behind. I have some great Yemeni neighbors on my street (best behaved kids out of all of the others, among other things) and I hope to be able to ask them what they think of the state of their homeland when the chance arises. They already know my intentions are straightforward and that I do not decide on what I do not know without some input from those who do. I plan to add it to my promise to ask multiple neighbors about the power of words vis a vis terminology for terrorism.

  6. BarkinDog – your rhyme reminded me of my favorite canine Hoku:

    Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

    Postman come to kill us all!

  7. Aridog – the lucky moderates got to escape and come here and have a normal life. The Old Countries are regressing, after a brief period of moderation. It appears to be a trend – Egypt and Turkey, for instance, used to be cosmopolitan tourist spots, but now they’re sliding into extremism. Unless their population checks them, they will be lost.

    And the Muslims I’d hung out with did exactly that – night time socializing. They were very family oriented. There were Persian family events several times a week. The entire clan was always gathering at someone’s house. It was inward facing – family and close friends only, but there would be several generations up dancing and having a great, boisterous time. It was always fun, if exhausting. Each region had its own traditions and social mores.

    For a while, the youth were making strides towards more freedom in Iran, but the mullahs are cracking down again. I read about some teenage boys being killed for having Western haircuts. I don’t think we can change a culture from outside. The people have to change their own government. It’s sad to see how far it’s fallen since the Shah.

  8. Here are my canine observations of the Saudi “intellectual”.

    He’s a dork, he’s a dork!
    He’s a dork all the way!
    From his first tent on his head.
    To his last dying day!

    [from the song: He’s A Jet]

  9. Dave…you daughter can do whatever she wants, just as mine can, as does…now a very successful financial underwriting person. When I mentioned elsewhere that I’d taught her to defend her self, as a kid, I also taught her to understand that such reaction was to be a v-e-r-y last resort, and that if taken, had consequences. She’s never let me down.

  10. Karen S said…

    That was what the neighborhood did, gather outside in the evenings and socialize.

    That is exactly how it is in my neighborhood….once the warmer months arrive. And anyone and everyone is welcome to join in the conversations. Just wave “Hi” to anyone and you’re invited to their porch to join in the conversations. Given our rather Arab demographics, it is the polar opposite of the things people like Sharon Angle said about my home community. I’ve been here 30+ years now, my better half her entire life, and we find it a refreshing place even now.

    I recall standing on the tarmac in formation upon returning to Korea and hearing many others whisper “look at the all the foreigners” who had gathered to watch us disembark. Where some saw alien imponderables, I saw opportunity….never mind our tiny formation was a minority in their country. I know many of those who originally saw an alien culture soon found it to be just “people”…I just had a head start.

    In my view of the world, not much has changed. We all have our nut cases, but we also have our “just people” … and they are the majority of whatever ilk.

  11. Rape culture. I think this is like chicken fights or dog fighting. It has to be trained into children that it is OK. I cannot come up with any idea as to why my daughter cannot do anything she wants that I do.

    1. Dave

      Rape is NEVER okay. It is a violation of the human psyche to physically and emotionally force yourself on another human being against their will and expect them to submit.

      There is no culture in the world where it is truly accepted. It is human bondage.

      Slavery of the soul.

      It needs to end so we can evolve as a species.

  12. well happypappies, you have to keep in mind that Bruce Jenner IS taking female hormones to sex change into a woman

    1. wee – weelll, I did say men or women so we would take them both into account being he is a 65 yr old man taking estrogen supposedly 😉

  13. Ah. Mike Appleton. Your comment just took away what I was going to say before I scrolled down and saw your comment.

  14. Fortunately for Mr. Al-Saadoon, the class of things protected from insult under Saudi law by the threat of flogging does not include intelligence.

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