Man in Saudi Arabia Arrested After Promising To Attack Women Drivers

He threatened to “burn” any woman whose car broke down.

byKyle Cheromcha|
Culture photo

Saudi Arabia took a huge step forward this week when it moved to end its notorious and longstanding prohibition on women driving. But it seems not everyone is ready to let go of the past—according to Reuters, a Saudi man has been arrested after posting a video in which he threatened to attack any woman taking advantage of their newfound freedom behind the wheel.

To be sure, a profound shift like this is bound to garner some negative reactions in an ultraconservative patriarchal society ruled by Wahabis. But the online video showing a man wearing traditional robes and swearing to God that he'd "burn" any woman whose car broke down sparked an even stronger government response. Citing Saudi media, Reuters reports the man was tracked to the country's Eastern Province and his arrest was ordered by the regional governor.

Perhaps in an effort to head off these kinds of incidents, the Saudi government is also working on its first explicit anti-harassment law ahead of the June 2018 start date for women drivers. As The New York Times points out, the collision between this new driving policy and the country's strict gender segregation rules means men will be interacting with women on a stage they've never shared before. Between the harassment law and a plan to retrain police officers, it appears Saudi Arabia is making an attempt to limit the chances of any ugly behavior on the roads.

Now let's just hope the Royal Family shares some of their cool cars, too.