A Moroccan poster denounces the forced marriage of child brides. A problem which, sadly, remains a fact of life in Morocco, even in cases of rape:
The family of a 14-year-old girl in Tangier, Morocco, denounced the case of their daughter, who was forced by the judiciary to marry the man who raped her and left her pregnant, and now prisoner of a profound depression.
The family of the victim, supported by the association “Don’t Touch My Child”, said that their daughter, named Safae, was pressured by a judge to agree to marry her rapist, during a meeting in which the parents and attorney of the assailant were present, but not those of the victim.
The mother of the victim, identified only as Zakia, told EFE today that the trouble began in January 2011, when the attacker kidnapped Safae in front of an institute where she was studying Spanish and computer studies, raped her, and then left her abandoned near her home.
The family denounced the assault at the time it occurred, but the mother says she was pressured by the prosecutor’s office and a family-court judge to have her daughter accept marriage to her rapist as a way to “salvage her honor”.
Safae later gave birth to a daughter, but never lived with her assailant, who did not stop harassing her even up to the point of several suicide attempts, according to her mother.
In Morocco, a disputed penal-code law allows a rapist to marry his victim and thus escape a prison sentence. This law came to light with the case of Amina Filali, a 16-year-old who killed herself on March 10 in the Larache region after being raped, forced to marry her attacker, and mistreated by him after their marriage.
It’s pretty obvious that the Moroccan justice system is far from impartial in cases like these. When the perpetrator can get an audience with a judge but his victim cannot, it’s clear that there’s a patriarchal skew at work to force an unwanted marriage down the throat of a victim, who in turn is treated as though SHE were the culpable party. (Ah yes, the old “sin of Eve” canard. It can’t die soon enough!)
The one good thing in this story is that there are now victim-advocates groups fighting back. Here’s hoping that they change that law and bring Morocco’s judiciary into the 21st century, where it belongs.