This story is so heartbreaking that it seems wrong not to speak of it. The article from The Telegraph discusses the suicide of Amina Filali, may God be Merciful to her, after suffering the degrading abuse of having to marry the man who raped her.
May her death not be exploited by any side, but used to prevent the coercion and brutalization of women's bodies and souls in the name of tradition or religion. Ameen
(Photo: - AFP/Getty Images)
Moroccan teenager's suicide after she was forced to marry her rapist
A Moroccan teenager committed suicide after her family forced her to marry her rapist in a tragedy that has sparked outrage among Moroccan activists and demands for changes to the nation's laws.
By Paul Carsten, and agencies
2:50PM GMT 15 Mar 2012
Amina Filali, 16, drank rat poison last week in order to kill herself because she had been made to marry the man who raped her when she was 15 years old.
Activists have set up a Facebook group called "We are all Amina Filali", with almost 1,000 members. A petition was started which already contains more than 1,000 signatures, and hundreds of tweets detail people's horror at the tragedy.
Nabil Belkabir, an activist, implored people on Twitter to "Join the group 'We are all Amina Filali' if you don't want this drama to happen again."
According to the president of Morocco's Democratic League for Women's Rights, Fouzia Assouli, Miss Filali's rapist married her to avoid receiving a sentence for rape.
In Morocco this is punishable by five to ten years in prison, but the sentence rises to between ten and twenty years if the victim is a minor.
Article 475 of the Moroccan penal code, which purports to defend family values, states that if a rapist marries his victim he is then exonerated of his crime. Ms Assouli attacked the article, saying it "does not uphold the rights of women".
In many societies, including within the Middle East, a woman losing her virginity before marriage is considered a dishonour to her family. For this reason, families will often make arrangements for rape victims to marry their rapists, so as to restore their lost honour. The Book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament contains a similar injunction.
"Amina, 16, was triply violated, by her rapist, by tradition and by Article 475 of the Moroccan law," activist Abadila Maaelaynine wrote on Twitter.
Miss Filali's father, Lahcen Filali, told an online Moroccan newspaper that his daughter only told her parents of the rape two months after it had occurred. When they reported it, the prosecutor advised his daughter to marry.
Although the rapist had initially rejected the proposal to marry Miss Filali, he agreed once threatened with prosecution.
The manager of the Adala Association for legal reform, Abdelaziz Nouaydi, said that a judge can only encourage the victim and rapist to marry when there is agreement from the victim and both families.
Mr Nouaydi said that although it isn't a common occurrence, the victim's family will sometimes assent to the marriage due to worries she will be unable to find a husband if her rape becomes common knowledge.
Ms Assouli said that the victim is then forced to marry in order to avoid scandal for her family.
Despite Morocco changing its family code in 2004 in an attempt to improve women's rights, the practice continues. "It is unfortunately a recurring phenomenon," she said. "We have been asking for years for the cancellation of Article 475 of the penal code which allows the rapist to escape justice."
Legislation to outlaw all forms of violence against women, which includes rape within marriage, has failed to move beyond government debate since first being proposed in 2006.
Mr Filali said his daughter had complained to her mother that her husband beat her repeatedly throughout the five months they were married. Her mother advised her to be patient.
According to a government study conducted last year, almost one quarter of Moroccan women have been sexually assaulted at least once in their lives.