Women Prisoners Subjected to Twofold Violence
Ms. Intisar Saleh
Behind the bars, life is extremely brutal and cruel. The value of days is lost there. Everyone is begging for time to pass quickly and asking, “When are we going to get out of here? When will we go out to the horizons of a wide space away from torture and violations that are practiced against us?”
Even after women prisoners leave their prison and after serving their sentence, they face higher walls than the prison walls, and a darker night than the dark dormitories, which is the society's view of them. Society always views women prisoners with the eyes of suspicion, injustice and oppression, and the shame of crime remains above their heads forever!!
The concerned authorities have the right to make arrests and detention; however, they do not fulfill their duty to study the issues and cut off the roots of the problem, nor does the family seek to embrace these women, forgive them, rebuild them again and integrate them into society. This is not true in most cases. Worse than that is the female prisoners whose crimes involve moral issues. They find their shelter in prison because their release means a death sentence by their families. For all these reasons, women are exposed to imprisonment, and their suffering worsens there. In prison, women cannot find health care, especially when women require special needs such as sanitary napkins, shaving tools, paints, underwear, and medicines, so they live misery of another color in the cells.
The failure of prison administrations is clearly evident, as the defect is not addressed and the needs of female prisoners are not provided as per the laws and treaties guarantee them. Rather, those who claim their rights are subjected to threats of beatings and punishment, which forces female prisoners to remain silent and live with the situation anyway.
As for the educational status and rehabilitation, female prisoners in Yemen are deprived of education. According to prison laws, the laws guarantee the right to education, but Yemeni prisons do not have education and rehabilitation to help them face life conditions inside and outside the prison.
Despite the law articles that chart the course of treatment of pregnant female prisoners, special medical treatment in terms of food, employment, and sleep since pregnancy is proven with a medical report, Yemeni women prisoners do not receive humane treatment by those in charge of prisons.
The laws also stipulated that their children remain with them until they reach the age of four years and then be handed over to a foster parent. However, the reality is that children remain in prison until the mother is released and the family abandon him, just as the mother was abandoned previously. It happens that children receive only the basics of life in the prison environment.
As so, female prisoners are treated as guilty and do not deserve a decent life. It does not matter if they are exposed to diseases. Moreover, they are insulted by the supervisors of prisons or inmates who have control over the vulnerable inmates. Some female prisoners are subjected to robbing by other prisoners to blackmail and intimidate them to carry out washing and cleaning, or they are subjected to physical and psychological harm.
This is for female prisoners against a criminal background or moral issues. As for those who are imprisoned because of political affiliation, no one knows about the existence of their places of detention or the reasons that led to this. The beginning of the series of torture, intimidation and extortion of the female prisoner and her family. After the kidnapping, the family demands their daughter, but the kidnappers first deny her presence with them. Then, the situation develops, and the family obtains a conditional confession by the perpetrator that they have her, but they will not know her whereabouts except for a large sum of money. This happens several times through different people without results while the prisoner is exposed to enforced disappearance, solitary confinement, psychological and physical torture, and threats of rape, which may occur.
After the family knows where the place of detention is, the violating party begins to spread rumors on the female prisoner and her family, taking advantage of customs and traditions, and accuse the female victim of being part of the networks of prostitution. The parents cannot tolerate this rumor, so they are forced to pay millions to silence this voice despite their knowledge of the integrity and purity of their daughter, and this continues for months or years without any help for this woman or her family from human rights and women's rights organizations. Rather, if the organizations attend, they would act according to the conditions of the violating party.
What the Yemeni women have been exposed to in Yemen, especially for the past six years, is something that cannot be described by letters or comprehended by reason. Domestic violence crimes have increased, women and children have become homeless in the streets, and they are thrown into prisons.