“One of the most important Arab traditions is honor,” Enad said. “If my sister goes in the street and someone assaults her, she won’t be able to protect herself. The nature of men is that men are more rational. Women are not rational."You could fit a waist or shoulder holster under an abaya quite easily. I'd be extremely surprised if women were permitted to carry weapons, though, even given permission from their male guardians and the nation's relatively lax gun laws.
UPDATE: From the comments, even more horrible stuff that didn't make it to the article:
At the edge of the city, I sat with the friend and a female Egyptian journalist I was traveling with to talk to six Saudi men, ages 19 to 26. They all worked for the Saudi military. ... “You’re reckless,'’ one of the young men said to me.
He said that it was dangerous to drive into the desert with a group of Saudi men we did not know well. He said we were lucky to have been invited by someone who was honest and trustworthy. Otherwise he said, we might have been attacked.
“The way a Saudi would think is ‘What is this girl doing here alone?’ If you are with a man, you better be his sister or his wife.”
That was Fahd’s explanation. He was 26 years old. ... The Egyptian woman asked how he would treat us if we had not been introduced by our friend.
“What would you do if we were with someone else?'’ she asked.
“I would get rid of him and try something with you,'’ he replied. “Not rape, I would try to do something, to get you to do something.”
“And if I said no?” she asked.
“Then I would rape you.”
That was it. None of the other young men seemed surprised, or sounded an objection. Would he really do it? Probably not. And neither would the other young men there, the ones who quietly nodded. But no one said “just kidding.” What they said was that this was a serious possibility we needed to be aware of. They acknowledged that rape was against their religion, but as a sin, they put it in the same category as a woman working with a man in the desert trying to understand young Saudi men.
‘Ninety percent of Saudis would think it is not right,'’ Fahd said. “An Egyptian girl with an American man, or a girl alone, what is she doing here?”