Inside Story

Is sexual abuse used as a weapon to silence women?

New reports allege female activists are tortured and abused in Saudi jails.

Rights groups say women’s rights activists are subjected to appalling treatment in prisons in Saudi Arabia, including being flogged, electrocuted and sexually harassed.

The kingdom has been promising reform and more freedom for females. But reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch suggest that anyone speaking out was at a risk of being locked up and abused.

The reports allege that women in these prisons had difficulty walking and their hands shook uncontrollably after interrogations.

Amnesty admits the accounts could not be verified because it could not access the prisons but added that they come from three different and credible sources.

Is sexual abuse – and the stigma attached to it – used to suppress women demanding their rights in conservative societies?

Presenter: Laura Kyle


Hana Al-Khamri – writer and analyst

Abdulaziz Almoayyad – Saudi Human Rights activist

Omaima Al Najjar – Saudi political refugee based in Italy