It was among the most amazing incidents of Rio Olympics ever seen, Kariman Abuljudayal was participating in the 100 m sprint, but she was looking a bit different from the rest of the runners. Kariman had a hijab put on her face and her whole body was covered in black velvet, making her one out of three girls of Saudi Arabia to participate in the biggest congregation of games; the Olympics.
Last year, Sara Akhtar from Saudi Arabia took part in the 4×800 m relay, she too had her entire body covered up and even after losing her share to brag the ticket to the finals, she did a commendable job.
It is customary in Saudi Arabia for women to be clad with a burka from head to toe, exposing her eyes and hands to carry on the daily household works, there are strict rules and regulations, especially for women where their entry is regularly monitored by the men of the family. Trysts and public hangouts or any form of physical and social communication with men outside family relation is viewed as liable for prosecution.
Sara moved to the states in her early twenties and left behind her the conservative lifestyle of women of Arab and had the freedom to choose her wardrobe by herself. Many women like the Sarah found the male dominant attitude of the society to be smothering their aspirations, most of them moved overseas and have established a life of dignity and self-respect.
The Saudi Arabia government imposes strict laws against women and even deprives them of the basic right of freedom of speech and expressions and restricting their life’s behind the smoky cauldron of the kitchen stands.
Until 2012 no women were allowed to participate in the Olympics and as of now, only a few sports have been given due allowance perceived by the Arabian government to be “preservation of the dignified”, making the women stay out of the sports, which involves wearing taut outfits like gymnastics and wrestling.
One such incident happened when Kariman’s shirt slipped an inch and a half during running and it was feared that a fatwa might be released against her demanding her execution or the mob might pelt stones and make her bleed to death.
Such type of incidents are no longer uncommon in Saudi Arabia, it is the rape victims, who are blamed and given no rehabilitation at all, instead of providing them with proper counseling and medical supervision they are imprisoned and cracked whips upon.
Up till now no measures have been taken to re-establish the status of women in the society. Saudi Arabia still remain to be the unfortunate country for women.