Trapped with Abuse - End Male Guardianship in Saudi Arabia

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Sound bite:
Look, the best thing you can do is to reconcile with your husband.

Pledge Not to Assault My Wife

Text on screen:
Does it make sense to allow an abusive husband to act as guardian over his wife?

Text on screen:
We Stand Together to End Male Guardianship of Women

Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship system remains the most significant impediment to women’s rights in the country despite limited reforms over the last decade. Adult women must obtain permission from a male guardian to travel abroad, marry, or be released from prison, and may be required to provide guardian consent to work or get health care. These restrictions last from birth until death, as women are, in the view of the Saudi state, permanent legal minors. Women in Saudi Arabia face formal and informal barriers when attempting to make decisions or take action without the presence or consent of a male relative. As one 25-year-old Saudi woman told Human Rights Watch, “We all have to live in the borders of the boxes our dads or husbands draw for us.” In some cases, men use the permission requirements to extort large sums of money from female dependents.

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Middle East/North Africa
© 2016 Human Rights Watch
Middle East/North Africa
A screenshot of an animation about women's right to travel without male guardian permission in Saudi Arabia.
Middle East/North Africa
A screenshot of an animation about women's right to be released from prison without need of a male guardian's permission, in Saudi Arabia.