Several hundred Moroccan women have rallied outside the country's parliament building to demand the repeal of a law that allows a rapist to marry his female victim if she is under the age of consent (18). The protests come in the wake of 16-year-old Amina Filali's March 10 suicide, the result of an abusive, court-recommended marriage to her rapist.
Said Fouzia Assouli, the president of the Democratic League for Women's Rights,
"What we have witnessed is scandalous. We have had enough. We must change this law, we must change the penal code." The law (article 475), according to the BBC's Nora Fakim, is intended to help preserve a family's honor (rather than a victim's dignity) in the wake of a rape. In poor, rural areas such as Filali's hometown of Larache, it is unacceptable for a woman to lose her virginity before marriage, even in cases of rape, which problem the Moroccan government solved in the most backwards way possible by simply delivering underage women over to their assailants. Though all parties must agree to a marriage, activists say that pressure is exerted on the victim's family to consent in order to avoid a scandal.
Protesters, however, have been so far disheartened by the lack of government response both to the protest and to Filali's death, which makes it seem like there's still an arduous road for young Moroccan women such as Amina Filali to travel before they're regarded as full-fledged, equal citizens and not merely transferable property that can be broken or bartered according the whim of a repressive patriarchy.