Late on Thursday, Saudi authorities announced the arrest of an Egyptian man who sexually harassed a Filipino domestic worker in Riyadh, Okaz newspaper reported.
The arrest came just hours after a video of the man assaulting the victim, now identified as Beth Lili, went viral, sparking outrage on social media.
In their statement on the matter, Riyadh Police said the man, who’s in his 30s, is a relative of the family sponsoring the domestic worker.
He confessed his crime during investigations and has now been transferred to prosecution.
Lili had pleaded for help online…
In live streams posted on her Facebook account after the horrific incident, Lili pleaded for help, asking that she be allowed to travel back home to her native country.
It has been reported that the domestic worker was rescued and transferred to the company that had helped her find work in the kingdom.
However, it remains unclear whether she has been allowed to travel back to the Phillippines.
بعد تناقل فيديو مرئي .. شرطة الرياض تقبض على المتحرش بالعاملة المنزلية .
— أخبار السعودية (@SaudiNews50) December 7, 2017
I am so relieved now, thank God.”
“Let’s hope every sex offender gets caught”
احسن عقبال لكل متحرش
— نورة (@Norah_2e3) December 7, 2017
Saudi Arabia currently drafting its first sexual harassment law
اين قانون التحرش ؟! ماذا يفعل بالمحاكم السعوديه ؟!
— تاءء (@t19006) December 6, 2017
“Where’s the sexual harassment law?”
As thousands continue to react to Lili’s case, many are calling on authorities to speed up the process of imposing a sexual harassment law, which is currently being drafted by Saudi authorities.
In September, King Salman issued a royal decree calling upon the kingdom’s interior minister to draft a law that criminalizes sexual harassment and enforces penalties on perpetrators.
A copy of the decree, which circulated online at the time, read:
“Considering the dangers sexual harassment poses and its negative impact on the individual, the family and society, along with its contradiction of Islamic principles, our customs and traditions […], the ministry shall prepare a draft law to tackle sexual harassment.”
The decree also went on to note the “importance of passing a law that criminalizes it [sexual harassment] and outlines the necessary penalties that categorically prohibit such acts and deter anyone who feels tempted to commit them.”
The law is of vital importance in the kingdom, where women continue to face high rates of sexual harassment.
According to a 2014 study, nearly 80% of women aged 18 to 48 said they have experienced sexual harassment in the country.
The Institute for International Research, a Canadian institute specialized in research and field studies, found that Saudi Arabia witnessed an 11.4% increase in sexual harassment rates in 2016, compared to 2014.