Source: YouTube

Earlier this week, a Saudi woman posted an audio clip on Twitter in which she pleads for help, accusing her father of abusing her. 

In the post, Njoud Al Mandeel claimed her dad constantly subjects her to both verbal and physical abuse. She also explained that before she recorded her voice note, he had beaten her and threatened to set her on fire. 

"He beat me and wanted to burn me alive over a trivial matter. I was terrified and jumped out a window into our neighbor's pool. A friend and her kids then came and took me to their house. I am recording this at their home," she said.  

The woman also stated she tried seeking help from authorities on numerous occasions but was sent back to her family home time and again. 

She then asked people to share her story in a bid to reach the kingdom's top officials. 

Soon after she shared her plight on Twitter, the woman's story went viral, prompting authorities to take action. 

According to Twasul news site, the kingdom's public prosecutor Saud Al Mojab ordered an immediate investigation into the case. 

In a series of tweets posted on Tuesday, Al Mandeel said she was contacted by the kingdom's domestic abuse helpline center, who are now handling her case. 

However, she has since stated that she's still worried about being sent back to her family and prefers to be locked up in a care center.

After sharing her story, Al Mandeel was targeted by internet trolls and people who tried to discredit her. 

In response, the woman said she is ready to send out evidence of her case and wants authorities to investigate it. 

Though there were those who stood against the victim and attacked her for going public, there were many others who stood up for her and called on officials to help save her. 

Some didn't want to believe Al Mandeel's story

Others accused her of trying to defame Saudi Arabia

"Don't believe these hashtags. If she was really being abused, she would've reported it to authorities!! Look at who she follows on Twitter. All this buzz basically because there's an organization managing her in a bid to defame Saudi Arabia!!!!!"

Many hit back at those attacking the woman

"She would rather be imprisoned in a care center than going back home. She didn't ask to end male guardianship... even though it would be the right thing to do."

"If she speaks out, they call her a liar. If she escapes, they call her disobedient. What exactly do you people want?"

"I am frustrated by those who face problems that can exist in any country by denying them"

"It's as if Saudi Arabia is clean of all these issues and individual mistakes. Admitting there's something wrong is the first step towards reform but in our country things are like this..."

Why is domestic violence still on the rise in the kingdom?

The kingdom criminalized domestic violence in 2013 following an organized media campaign.

In 2016, the kingdom set up a domestic violence reporting center. In its first three days of operations, the center received 1,890 domestic violence reports.

Despite the laws passed to help curb the problem, cases of domestic violence continue to be on the rise in the country.

Speaking to StepFeed, Reem, a Saudi social activist, explained the reasons behind this, saying: 

"The main reason for the rise in domestic abuse cases lies in the fact that Saudi women are still governed by the kingdom's male guardianship system, which basically renders them helpless in such situations. A victim of abuse can't report violent incidents without permission from a male guardian (usually, a husband, father or brother). So it's like you're asking a victim to bring her abuser in to a police station and have him report himself."

"Another reason is that the Saudi legal system does often dismiss cases of abuse because they deem them familial matters. I know of several women who were returned to their homes even after they were found to have been abused by their families," she added. 

Reem added that existing anti-domestic violence laws will only be beneficial when they're fully implemented. 

"And if a woman is lucky, she is referred to a care center which is basically a prison-like space where she is kept for a period of time before being sent back home. In all cases, there isn't a real solution to the issue in the kingdom at this point. There have been several excellent laws passed by authorities in recent years when it comes to domestic abuse in specific, but if we don't make sure these laws are properly implemented and if we don't focus on the loopholes that still exist, domestic violence will continue to be prevalent," she explained.