By MELISSA WELLHAM
In Morocco, convicted rapists who ‘rectify’ their crime by agreeing to marry their female victims can go free and avoid facing any penalty.
Even more shocking is the fact that this law extends to rapists whose victims who are under the age of 18.
In Morocco it is considered inappropriate for women to lose their virginity before marriage – even in cases of rape. So rather than attempting to change a culture that condones rape, the Moroccan Government has decreed that the best way to avoid these sorts of improper scandals is to offer the rapists their underage victims’… as their brides.
This ensures the girl’s ‘decency’ is not called into question, and the rapist avoids punishment.
Although all parties must consent to the marriage for this legal loophole to take effect, the pressure put on young girls and their families to avoid ‘disgrace’, is immense.
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.
Last March, 16-year-old Amina al-Filali poisoned herself to get out of a seven-month-old abusive marriage to a 23-year-old she said had raped her. Her parents and a judge had pushed the marriage to protect the family’s honor. The incident sparked calls for the law to be changed.