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My Evil Twin: Slowly picking me apart: More on Bluetooth and Saudi: From sex to suicide blog Layouts

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Monday, December 04, 2006

More on Bluetooth and Saudi: From sex to suicide

Saudi Bluetooth Flirting leads to young woman suicide attempt

A young woman was rushed to a private hospital late last night after swallowing more than 50 tables of Panadol in a desperate attempt to commit suicide after being threatened to be exposed by a man who she got to know through " Bluetooth dating".

Amal, a 16 year old highschool student in Jeddah, came home with Panadol tables she had purchased from the nearby drugstore and waited until she was alone. Her parents had left for a wedding party that evening only to find her unconscious upon their return . She was immediately rushed to the nearest private hospital where she received medical attention and was stabilized.

This is not unusual to the Saudi society. Women have been attempting suicide to escape the harsh consequences of cultural and social misconducts. Saudi Arabia is a segregated society where the interaction of men and women is restricted to relatives, spouses and children. The religious police has the right to question and detain couples who can't prove their marital status or blood relation.

Dating and rendezvous are often conducted secretly in private homes of mutual friends or public places where the man poses as a brother or relative if caught.

Because of the harsh cultural rules, women are often the victims of abuse and blackmail because the offenders know that they can get away with it since she can not tell anyone. Sometimes even repeatedly threatening to inform her male relatives of their Bluetooth relationship lest she does what he asked her. This creates a viscous cycle of emotional and psychological abuse for the woman that develops into depression and finally despairs and suicide contemplations.

“Even if I changed my number, He knows where I live. My brothers will kill me if they find out and he knows it, there is nothing I can do , I’ve committed sin and if I ask anyone to help me in the end I will be the one to suffer so I am leaving it to Allah to sort it out " Fatima, 21

Dr. Halloo, Clinical Psychologist, at the hospital in Jeddah explained the need for a trusting relationship between the growing adolescent and at least one of the parents. "We need to let our daughters know that we love them and that no matter how angry we are, the last thing want them is dead!" he emphasized. “To the woman, it is the end, she can't tell her family because she will be condemned and shamed for the rest of her life and she can't make the man stop abusing her because he probably would know where she lived because he had discreetly picked her up before and making him mad by not submitting to him can anger him enough to talk to her father and she can't live with that so she decides to kill herself and rest"

“I received a blue tooth message while I was in the car on my way to school. The sender's name was cute and it was traffic so I started smsing him back and we fell in love. He told me not to tell anyone so that we could get married one day. We started meeting in secret, he'd pick me up from school and we would go to his place, I have no choice! If we got caught in the mall or the beach... I don't even want to think about it! But I’m sure he will not black mail me" Wafaa, 19

Many young women in Saudi Arabia have heard their fair share of "Bluetooth dating" horror stories. A great deal of them "just wait it out" until the boy finds another and gets busy, by the time he tells on her, she would have spent sufficient time at home enough to gain her parents trust and deny the relationship. Here are the opinions of some women in "Hanging-Bluetooth" relationships:

" My boyfriend and I met through bluetooth messaging, I trusted him and told him everything about me. Sometimes he teases me when I annoy him that he would make a prank call to my dad and tell him about us, we once had a fight about that but I still don't know if he can do it, its not in my hands anymore" Sumaya, 21

" What are we supposed to do? We can't go on a date in public because it is prohibited, we can't watch a movie or take a walk on the beach there is just no such thing as a relationship before marriage here. I want to know how men are so I marry the right one in the future. I don't want to end up marrying 5 times before i find the right one because I didn't know the other 4 before we got married!" The girls nodded in agreement." Lets go to the mall" suggested Sumaya, "Maybe we'll get lucky and forget about our troubles" The girls giggled .

Amal’s story and the story and the stories of these young women are not strange to the youth of Saudi Arabia. From the stories of the dating adventures of those who lived to tell them. To the appalling stories of those who suffered the consequences . "Bluetooth dating" like a lot of other unaccepted social activities , is just another risk young people are willing to take in their plight for self discovery.


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