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In Qatar, Female Passengers Were Strip Searched And Made To Undergo Vaginal Exams To Confirm Recent Pregnancy. Wtf Is Going On?

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Flying is one of my biggest fears. Not to the extent that I’ll simply stop traveling again (that’s a bit dramatic), but just that whenever I do, flights are usually a nightmare, and I can’t do it without a frown on my face. From always getting seats either next to a baby who won’t stop crying or a person who didn’t consider going to the washroom before we took off, these things are distressing even before the turbulence hits. Maybe it’s me but I have had the worst experiences while I am up in the air. However, nothing came close to the kind of concerns Australia arose with Qatari authorities after the females passengers on a Sydney bound flight, had an actually worrying experience before even getting on board. They were strip searched without consent.

In an infuriating piece of news, women on a Sydney-bound flight, were recently strip searched by the Qatari authorities after the discovery of an abandoned baby at the airport. There really wasn’t any connection established that these women had given birth recently but all the woman were forcibly put through an invasive medical examination at the Doha Hamad International Airport on October 2, after a premature new born baby was found abandoned in the airport’s bathroom.

Two women out of the 13 that were asked to leave the flight as it was delayed for hours after the discovery of a baby, it was revealed that no one from among the authorities spoke English or told them anything about what was happening. A passenger shared, “There were 13 of us and we were all made to leave. A mother near me had left her sleeping children on the plane. There was an elderly woman who was vision impaired and she had to go too. I’m pretty sure she was searched.”

Also Read : We Asked Indian Airlines What ‘Appropriate’ Clothing For Women Onboard Is. Cover Up! Apparently

Meanwhile, the other passenger shared how she was taken to an ambulance and locked inside with a female nurse. She continued saying, “They never explained anything. She told me to pull my pants down and that I needed to examine my vagina. I said ‘I’m not doing that’ and she did not explain anything to me. She just kept saying, ‘we need to see it, we need to see it’.” And what gave these people the authority to force an invasive vaginal examination without consent is beyond us and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that awaits a report from the Qatari authorities.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne described as “grossly disturbing and offensive” and unlike anything she “had ever heard of”, and we agree. Not only was this no less than a violation of women’s consent, but also their bodies. To ask the women to strip to check them for recent pregnancy seems unnecessary and a gross violation of personal space.

Sharing the details of their horrendous and traumatic experience, one passenger also said how the women had started panicking at one point, fearing the possibilities of how much worse could it  get for them. Reports share that after the examinations as the women made their way back to the plane, they were visibly stressed, one even in tears.

Considering this incident was one that could’ve been avoided simply by first informing the passengers about the situation of the abandoned baby, and then asking for consent, it is disturbing that no one thought of this. It is the fact that the authorities didn’t take into account their permission before asking them to strip and take their underwear off is telling of how lightly they take such a gross aberration.

At present, the baby’s mother still remains unknown, but what is known is that little respect women are extended in such situations. Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has now lodged a formal and serious concern with the Qatari authorities. But the Qatar airlines have  declined to comment on the matter, yet. We hope the investigation gets carried out strictly and holds them responsible for pulling off something as offensive as this.

Also Read : Japan Airlines To Use Gender-Neutral Terms To Be More Inclusive Of The LGBTQ+ Community. It’s A Small Gesture That Will Go A Long Way

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