Last year in September, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia ordered for the drafting of an anti-sexual harassment law.
Almost a year later, the order has materialized as Saudi Arabia’s one hundred and fifty seat Shura Council passed a much-awaited anti-harassment law, having a majority of eighty-four votes.
On Tuesday, the legislative advisory body of the Kingdom officially approved the draft, hence criminalizing sexual harassment.
The new draft bill is targeted at fighting the crime of harassment, to prevent it, punish the wrongdoers and to provide protection to the victims for preserving their privacy, individual freedom and dignity as assured by the Islamic jurisprudence and rules in the Kingdom, as reported by BBC.
Additionally, the drafted new law carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of about eighty thousand US dollars.
King Salman has given out instructions for the preparation of the anti-harassment bill by the Interior Ministry keeping in perspective the negative impact that the harassment leaves on individuals, family and the society in general.
Dr Latifa Al Shaalan—the Shura Council member said that the draft bill is a significant add-on to the history of rules and regulations in the Kingdom. It occupies a major legislative vacuum and is a restraining system in comparison to similar laws in other nations.
Twitter was flooded with people reacting to this news.
Anti-sexual harassment laws have just been approved in Saudi. This was one of the demands of Saudi feminists in the past few years. There were no clear laws against sexual harassment. Saudi still has a long way to go, but I'm glad it's moving on the right track.
— Aziz (@SilentRuins) May 29, 2018
Someone tweeted that the ones who were not disciplined by their parents now would be disciplined via government. The daughters of people are not toys to insult.
#قانون_مكافحه_التحرش اللي ماعنده اهل تربيه فيه حكومه تربيه بنات الناس مو لعبه تسوي قادح تقولي متبرجه متستره ! الحكومه تطلع الفلوس من ظهرك اهم شي جماعتك تقول افزعو لولدنا متحرش يسويد الوجهه 👌🏻 pic.twitter.com/cnLZTxAsxW
— نواف العيسى 13🏆🇸🇦 (@nnawafaliissa) May 29, 2018
Other one posted that the harassment would disappear after the introduction of this law.
#قانون_مكافحه_التحرش لن نرى تحرش بعد وجود القانون الرادع ولن يكون هناك بديل عن هذا القانون كما كان يتوهم البعض ولا زالو
— خالد عمر (@khaledomar1996) May 29, 2018
— 🥥 Kameko かめこ (@nekonan1991) May 30, 2018
In present times, some sexual harassment cases have emerged across Saudi Arabia, which has led to the demand of law imposition regarding sexual harassment by many Saudis.
As per a study of 2014, almost eighty percent of women who are aged between eighteen to forty-eight said that they have been a victim of sexual harassment in one way or the other.
Before the sexual harassment was officially criminalized, the Kingdom authorities have been keeping the abusers proven guilty.