Thursday, April 18, 2013

Morocco Slow to Enforce Laws on Women's Rights

Morocco, a country that has had traditionally had very strict perspectives on what a woman has the right to do, is showing that they may have seen change in the laws but not in the enforcement of laws. In 2012, a 15 year old girl named Amina Filali was raped, and after her parents and the judge of her case ruled, she was forced to marry her rapist. She later committed suicide due to this ruling. In Morocco article 475 of the family penal code stated that the charge of raped could be dropped against the defender if he took the victim as his bride.

Even though the law in Morocco states that no one under the age of 16 can legally be married, it seems that traditional perspectives hold more merit than laws. In Morocco, much like many other countries around the world, if an unmarried woman has admitted to a sexual relationship, or is raped, they have no more worth. Many of these girls are surrendered by their parents to the rapist or are homeless with no familial support. At the beginning of the article a young girl maybe 13 or 14 sits in a Marrakesh police station unable to tell her story, but one thing she is able to say is that she was raped and that she was pregnant. Much like other girls in her position, her family put her out, she has no value to them because she is no longer a virgin.

There are many issues among the court system and law enforcement in Morocco, many judges around the country do not know the general convictions for crimes such as rape, so they are all practicing law on their own accord. Many of these judges are very conservative and feel that making a rape victim marry her rapist is the best way to defend her family's honor. It is not about what is best for the victim, but what is best for the  honor of the family. Until the penal code is changed to reflect the rights of women, and victims of rape, these cases will continue to occur.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/11/world/middleeast/morocco-slow-to-enforce-laws-on-womens-rights.html?pagewanted=all

Caroline Dawkins
4/18/2013
4:50pm

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