Moroccan teenager, Amina Filali, 16, took rat poison last week in order to kill herself because she had been made to marry the man who raped her when she was 15 years old.
UK TELEGRAPH According to the president of Morocco’s Democratic League for Women’s Rights, Fouzia Assouli, Miss Filali’s rapist married her to avoid receiving a sentence for rape.
In Morocco this is punishable by five to ten years in prison, but the sentence rises to between ten and twenty years if the victim is a minor.
Article 475 of the Moroccan penal code, which purports to defend family values, states that if a rapist marries his victim he is then exonerated of his crime. Ms Assouli attacked the article, saying it “does not uphold the rights of women.”
In many societies, including within the Middle East, a woman losing her virginity before marriage is considered a dishonour to her family. For this reason, families will often make arrangements for rape victims to marry their rapists, so as to restore their lost honour.
“Amina, 16, was triply violated, by her rapist, by tradition and by Article 475 of the Moroccan law,” activist Abadila Maaelaynine wrote on Twitter. Although the rapist had initially rejected the proposal to marry Miss Filali, he agreed once threatened with prosecution.
Mr Nouaydi said that although it isn’t a common occurrence, the victim’s family will sometimes assent to the marriage due to worries she will be unable to find a husband if her rape becomes common knowledge. Ms Assouli said that the victim is then forced to marry in order to avoid scandal for her family.
Mr Filali said his daughter had complained to her mother that her husband beat her repeatedly throughout the five months they were married. Her mother advised her to be patient.
According to a government study conducted last year, almost one quarter of Moroccan women have been sexually assaulted at least once in their lives.