Victims of sexual harassment, including children, are not only often stigmatized for speaking up about their experiences, in some Arab societies, they are also punished for it.
Even though cases of such horrific double abuse are rarely reported, earlier this week, Saudi psychologist, Dr. Hussain Al Shamarani, spoke out about a shocking incident he came across at his practice in a Saudi hospital.
In a tweet posted on his official Twitter account, Al Shamarani said he was recently approached by a father whose young son had been sexually harassed by a number of teenagers.
The father told the psychologist that upon discovering the assault, he decided to punish his son for it by "ironing" the victims' private parts.
Speaking to Ajel news site, Al Shamarani said he came forward with the story in order to raise awareness on the alarming issue.
"The consequences of both punishing the victim or remaining silent about an assault are detrimental"
"This man came to ask for my advice, not knowing that his action had already done more damage to the child's health and mental well-being," he said.
"There are so many similar cases, where parents resort to punishing a child after an assault or simply choose not to come forward to get them help they truly need in the wake of such incidents," he explained.
"The consequences of both punishing the victim or remaining silent about an assault are detrimental to children who suffer from an incident of sexual abuse. Victims of such assaults need medical assistance to get through it and must be seen by doctors who'll assess their cases and provide them with the care and support they need," he added.
Al Shamarani also stressed that parents must work on educating their children on sexual abuse and ensure they are not left unsupervised with strangers.
The case sparked fury online
Soon after Al Shamarani tweeted out about the case of sexual and child abuse, it went viral on social media, sparking outrage among hundreds of social media users.
Many were understandably angered by it
"Ignorance is catastrophic. This father knows he won't be punished for his actions. This is why similar incidents will always recur."
"This is how their brains are programmed, to blame the victim for being harassed"
"Some people are not fit for parenthood"
"This father must receive psychiatric treatment."
Some called on authorities to take action
"We need hotlines that professionally deal with similar cases, we need to combat this outdated rhetoric that shames victims. I call on authorities to launch investigations into such cases and start vigilantly working on solving them. Admitting that there's a problem is the first step towards solving it."