The family malls in Saudi Arabia have a restriction that men can’t enter the mall unless they have their female family members with them. This limitation has deprived young men of availing an opportunity to visit family malls and they feel so lost. The condition has been set to avoid any situation of sexual harassment in the shopping malls. In the recent past, we have seen many cases of sexual harassment in Saudi Arabia where a bunch of young boys were involved in harassing young girls. There is no doubt that when these kinds of issues are highlighted, they are properly dealt by the Saudi authorities and they penalize all the culprits involved.[irp]
However, the first responsibility of the state is to prevent this kind of incidents. I think this is the reason they have banned the entry of men to shopping malls without families. The only option they have is to plead a girl or woman to act as their sister, mother or wife and let them get inside the mall along with them. It has become a common practice that a girl or woman takes SR 50 or SR 100 and take them inside the mall where they can enjoy their activities. Normally girls refuse such offers but some need money and some feel sorry for them that are why they agree to them for taking them inside.
Another citizen shared her experience that she has received such offer many times from young men outside the family malls for taking money for their entrance in the mall but she used to refuse them as she does not need money. The most common way for these men to enter in the malls is that they plead their cousins to take them inside by showing them as a family member.
A young girl shared that her father allows decent guys to take them inside as his family member if he is sure that the man has no bad intention and surely need to visit the mall. The problem to be faced by these men is genuine and they feel so deprived being standing outside the mall and getting no solution for entering inside. Some girls take money for entering and enter quickly inside leaving the guy behind who gives her money to take him inside the mall along with her.[irp]
Personally speaking, I have entered too many shopping malls without my family several times but no one stopped me. During my early days in Saudi Arabia, someone stopped me only once when I was wearing shorts and he was not comfortable with that. He asked me to change them but I managed to get in. But no one stopped me due to this family issue. I think they don’t stop you if you are a presentable piece of the body.
Source: Arab News