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Student appeals expulsion over ‘deviant’ relationship

A Saudi woman expelled from her college for having a lesbian relationship with her hostel supervisor has urged authorities to review the decision and allow her to continue her education.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

26th April 2011 09:28

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

Speaking on a radio program recently, the girl who introduced herself as Sarah from Turaif who was in the final year of her course, said it was the hostel supervisor who started the relationship.

“Unfortunately, the investigating committee did not take any action against the supervisor, who sent more than 1,000 love texts to my mobile in addition to written letters,” she told the program.

She admitted the relationship to the investigating committee while swearing by the Qur’an, but the supervisor denied it.

“They rusticated me while I was in the final year of my studies. It is a harsh punishment. They should have imposed a softer punishment so that I could continue my studies,” Sarah said.

Abdul Qader Tankal, supervisor of safety and security at King Abdulaziz University, said the committee should have dealt with the issue more sensibly and provided the girl with necessary counseling with the help of educators and psychologists.

He said expelling the girl created a new problem instead of resolving the issue. He said action should also be taken against the supervisor by college authorities on the basis of the girl’s statement. He said lesbian relationships are quite common among girls in recent years because of the influence of satellite channels and the Internet.

“When we observed a few cases in our university we dealt with them by providing necessary counseling. We also hold a number of lectures and other programs to protect girls from having such deviant relationships,” he said.

A number of psychologists told Arab News that lesbian relationships happen in schools and universities for many reasons, including a sexual identity crisis suffered by some girls. Some of them were victims of sexual abuse during their childhood and most of them do not want treatment to change their lesbian attitudes, they added.