Expat Travel – Are Expat Women Safe in Kuwait?

The plethora of expats looking to arrive and start their lives on Kuwaiti Soil have one specific question in mind; is it safe for single expat ladies to live alone in Kuwait?

(Another one of their worries is driving in Kuwait, as the majority tend to describe it as NASCAR meets Demolition Derby, but that is another tale for another time.)

In any given year, a large number of expats (men and women) choose to make Kuwait their domicile, for varying periods of time. With everything we read in the papers regarding abductions and rapes etc. it is understandable that a few would be hesitant/reluctant upon arrival to the locale.

This post specifies expats specifically, although it can also relate to women in general; the only difference is awareness of the laws and/or having someone to be there for you, which most expats, upon arrival, are thoroughly lacking.

Kuwait is no more, or less, dangerous than any other country in the world as far as Female Safety is concerned. Harassment is, unfortunately, a worldwide epidemic amongst the socially depraved. Police have made strong efforts to counter this by imposing heavy fines on any offenders that are reported (1,000KD + jail-time + hair shaved in cases of juveniles).

The downside here is crimes against women in general are broken down into categories, separated by ethnicity.

– Expat women of Asian descent are molested, abducted, raped and abused (depending on their job, abuse is centered around maids in general).

The Sad Truth of the World we Live in

– Expat women of Western/ European origin are regarded as loaded and more often than not are victims to extortion in taxis and any retail shop without a fixed price tag. They are followed in malls by desperate, lonely men who are looking for a “one-night-stand“, and in few cases, are molested by pesky low lives.

There is no clear profile for sick individuals, what is mentioned above is merely what occurs in the news.

Another major cause for concern is “dress code“, and make no mistake, it does not matter what you wear, whether it is revealing, tight or loose fitting, the socially depraved only search for a hint of femininity to pounce on (pardon the pun), as I have seen women covered from head to toe in abayas that were being pestered on the road.

In part, it is a matter of personal discretion; by avoiding certain areas and crowds, expat ladies can keep themselves safe from harm.

Kuwait is neither as stringent as Saudi Arabia nor as lax as Dubai, it is a bit of both. Behind closed doors (i.e. parties, functions etc) you are free to dress as you please, whilst in the public eye, it is best to be moderate in clothing. The best advice that can be given is to visit the local malls upon arrival and study the peoples dressing habits (Without drawing too much attention to yourself), and emulate the style you find most appealing.

PDA (Public Display of Affection) you say? Again, given the laws of the land, excessive PDA is an offence that could land you in jail (you have only to read up on the many couples caught canoodling in their cars by vigilant passersby whose first reaction upon seeing such affection is to call the police.

Hand holding, pecks on the cheek, hugging etc. are NOT considered offences, although it might draw the ire of a few more stringent passersby.

Despite the fact that single women are given the same treatment as families (i.e. in terms of cinema seating, restaurants, park days etc) the same is not true for rent rules, as some landlords have been known to shun single women in search of an apartment to rent by themselves (for fear of immorality) which makes non-company sponsored housing difficult, but not impossible.

Caution should be exercised at all times, for it is our greatest defense.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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