In Libya, al-Beidi's story raises awareness of sexual violence under Qaddafi

April 7, 2011

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(Getty Images/Chris Hondros)
Sexual violence against women is a taboo subject in Libya.

Libyan Iman al-Obeidi caught the world’s attention last month when she burst into a Tripoli hotel and told the international press she was detained and gang-raped by Qaddafi’s militiamen. The scene—and her subsequent seizure by pro-Qaddafi hotel workers—was captured on video.

Obeidi’s frankness won her many supporters among Libyan rebels. Her story also raises the issue of rape in a society that rarely speaks about sexual violence.

Asma Magariaf, a Libyan-American activist based in Washington D.C., discusses the significance of Obeidi’s tragic ordeal.