The lawyer representing a Saudi rape victim whose treatment has drawn worldwide criticism predicted Wednesday the controversy may help reform the Saudi judicial system.
Human rights groups want Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to drop charges against the rape victim.
"I believe the kingdom is going through a reformist period and I believe what we're going through will lead to a more modern judicial system that all citizens can enjoy," Abdulrahman al-Lahim told Octavia Nasr, CNN's senior Arab affairs editor, in a telephone interview.
I hope he is right. The current system definitely benefits rapists and keeps rape victims silent.
For any westerners who feel smug that we don't punish victims for reporting rape. We do. Don't forget the rape victim jailed in Tampa, Florida. There were people in the US who defended that action which makes them no better than those who defend the sentence given to the rape victim in Saudi Arabia.
Their rationalizations are the same. Rape victims shouldn't escape accountability just because they were raped. If fear of contacting the authorities protects rapists that is the victim's fault and sole responsibility.
If we condemn the Saudi case then we must also condemn all mistreatment of rape victims in our own countries. If we don't, we are part of the problem.