Moroccan news reports say that a 16 year-old girl, Amina Filali, has committed suicide after being forced to marry her attacker by a judge’s ruling. The teenager reportedly swallowed rat poison in protest to the marriage.
In Moroccan culture, it has long been a tradition for rape victims to be forced to marry their attackers in order to protect their honor, and in doing so the rapist is granted a pardon for the crime. Last year in Afghanistan, a 21-year old woman named Gulnaz was given a 12-year jail sentence after being raped. Her crime? “Adultery by force”. After public outcry caused President Karzai to reconsider and pardon her after two years served, Gulnaz was released and said she would still consider marrying her rapist, who is her cousin’s husband, because her daughter was conceived during the rape and because she wants to preserve her family’s good name.
Amina didn’t fare so well, however. In an interview, her father said she was accosted on the street and raped when she was fifteen, but it was two months before she gathered the courage to tell her parents. After the judge’s ruling, Amina came to her mother with the news that her husband beat her repeatedly over the course of their five-month marriage, but that her mother advised her to be patient.
Several online petitions have been started since news of Amina’s suicide broke, urging Morocco to end the practice of forced marriages, and a Facebook page has been started in support of the girl called “We are all Amina Filali!” Twitter has also been abuzz with the news today, along with angry reactions.
RIP Amina Filali. Shame on you, Morocco.