The torture and murder of 5-year-old Lama Al Ghamdi could hardly have been more horrific—and news of it, repeated in countless Twitter feeds, has enflamed opinion around the world.
But the fact that this story of one little girl’s death and one father’s monstrosity went public is also a sign of just how hard women in Saudi Arabia are working to fight the cruel misogyny embedded in the kingdom’s version of Islamic law. And among those women is a daughter of the king.
The basic facts are these, according to Saudi activists and Saudi press reports: When Lama Al Ghamdi was hospitalized on Christmas Day 2011, she had a crushed skull. Her left arm and some of her ribs were broken and one of her fingernails torn off.
The child’s mother, who is divorced from the father and did not have custody, says that hospital staff told her the girl’s rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed. It took 10 long, agonizing months before, finally, the little girl died.