Moroccan to Change Law, Preventing Rapists From Marrying Victims to Avoid Prosecution

Amina al-Filali poisoned herself 7 months after being forced to marry her alleged rapist to spare her family any shame.

The high-profile suicide of Amina al-Filali, a 16-year-old Moroccan girl who was forced to marry the man who raped her, has prompted the Moroccan government to change the law that allows victims to be forced to marry their attackers to protect their family’s “honor”. The Associated Press reports,

A paragraph in Article 475 of the penal code allows those convicted of “corruption” or “kidnapping” of a minor to go free if they marry their victim and the practice was encouraged by judges to spare family shame.

While the legal age of consent in Morocco is officially 18, it is quite routine for judges to approve marriages to much younger girls so as to save families from the perceived shame of sex outside of marriage, whether consensual or not.

Although women’s rights activists have welcomed the announcement made by Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid on Tuesday, they also assert that this is only the first step toward reforming a penal code that does virtually nothing to protect woman from violence in their country. Khadija Ryadi, the president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights said,

Changing this article is a good thing but it doesn’t meet all of our demands. The penal code has to be totally reformed because it contains many provisions that discriminate against women and doesn’t protect women against violence.

Western culture looks at laws like this in highly traditional countries such as this North African nation, and other Middle Eastern countries including India and Egypt with scorn. The reality however, is that in the US it is not unheard of for a rapist to marry their victim to avoid prosecution. Just recently a 42-year-old teacher from North Carolina made headlines for marrying her 17 year old student after being arrested and charged with statutory rape stemming from a sexual relationship they had when her student was 15.

 

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About Kathryn DeHoyos

Kathryn DeHoyos currently resides on the outskirts of Austin, TX. She has 2 beautiful children, and is very happily un-married to her life partner DJ.

Comments

  1. India is not a Middle Eastern country. Our laws themselves by and large set a good example, the devil’s in the details like the terminology “outraging a woman’s modesty.” The problem broadly lies with enforcement by the law and order machinery – the police is not only highly politicized but also unable to leave behind their deep gender biases. There are many many problems, and the law is almost the least of them.

  2. Kathryn DeHoyos says:

    You re right, India is actually classified as “Indo-Asian” or even just “Asian” depending on when and where you are looking for a classification.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    First step.
    But the fact that the culture would see the family as shamed means it’s a crap culture. That has to change.
    Or not, I suppose. Up to them.

  4. Now if they only passed this in the US. (Teacher in the Carolina’s recently married a 17 yo boy to get out of charges)

  5. No comparison whatsoever between Amina’s situation and the North Carolina statutory rape case. Though perversely wrong I would bet that the sexual relationship between the teacher and student was consensual. every young boy’s wet dream. Amina was raped, I would bet without her consent and in a violent manner. And in this country we don’t jail the victims, unlike places like Afghanistan where rape victims are victimized twice.

    It’s illegal for sexual relations with minors in this country, even consensual.. hence the statutory rape laws.

    • And this is why the rapists of young boys go unpunished and these rapes go unreported. How in the world do you know this is not the same situation? Rape by coercion, rape by force, it is all RAPE. I have known young men who went for years honestly believing that they ” must have wanted it” when they were 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. Why? Because the alternative is to feel powerless. To admit that they had no control over something a woman did to them. And in our society, that is like giving up your manhood. This is how sexism hurts men. Because even when they can’t admit the reality of what happened to themselves, it comes back to haunt them.

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