The Devil in the Details

Hala al-Dosari, a Saudi writer and women’s rights activist, takes a look at the country’s new anti-abuse law:

The new law seems to enforce un-codified mechanisms established by several sectors over the past decade. It also provides abuse victims with a written guide of what is expected by law, and not by internal memos or programs.

Yet much more remains to be defined in the next few years. Does a woman’s right to work, travel, marry, divorce, and participate in public society fall within the law’s definition of “basic needs”? Will Saudi courts interpret corporal punishment of a wife or child as abuse, or as a legitimate use of authority?