TAKE ACTION: No One Should Have to Marry Their Rapist


By Tarah Demant, Women’s Human Rights Thematic Specialist 

Each of us has autonomy over our own body: we all have the right to make our own decisions about our healthcare, reproduction, and sexual lives, and we should be able to do so without living in fear of violence or discrimination. No matter where you live, no matter who you are, it’s your body and your rights.

Yet far too many are deprived of the basic human rights over their own bodies, including the right to be free from violence, sexual, assault, and rape. Such violence against women is part of a global culture of discrimination, but in the Maghreb region of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, discriminatory legal provisions help enable rampant sexual violence against women and girls.

Thanks to the penal code in Morocco, the severity of punishment for rape depends on whether the woman was a virgin or not.

In Algeria and Tunisia, rapists can avoid prosecution for raping minors if they marry their victims thanks to Article 326 of the Algerian Penal Code and Article 227 of the Tunisian Penal Code. And thanks to the penal code in Morocco, the severity of punishment for rape depends on whether the woman was a virgin or not.

In all three countries, marital rape is not recognized as an offense, and both same-sex sexual relations and consensual extramarital relations are illegal, which can discourage survivors from reporting assaults, for fear they will be in legal trouble themselves.

These legal provisions impede justice for survivors and continue to facilitate incidents of sexual violence, leaving survivors of rape and sexual assault without justice or hope. In March 2012 in Morocco, 16 year-old Amina Filali swallowed rat poison and killed herself after she was forced to marry her rapist. No one should face a lifetime with her rapist, just as no one’s virginity “status” should determine justice.

For these reasons, Amnesty has selected the Maghreb region as a focus area in its My Body, My Rights campaign, a global campaign to help ensure everyone has access to their sexual and reproductive rights and enjoys the full spectrum of rights over their bodies.

All people have the right to live in safety. All people have the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, including whether to have children, when to marry, and when and with whom to engage in sexual relations, and the governments of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia must amend discriminatory legislation that gives offenders impunity.

Furthermore, sufficient resources must exist for survivors of sexual violence, including medical services, psychological counseling, and social support. Law enforcement officers and government officials must undergo training in women’s rights issues and gender-based violence.

The governments of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are failing to protect women and girls from gender-based violence. Demand action and accountability by signing our online action to the authorities in these three countries and joining our Women’s Action Network as we launch our campaign to defend the rights of everybody and every body!

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8 thoughts on “TAKE ACTION: No One Should Have to Marry Their Rapist

  1. The links in this blog for "signing our online action" and "joining our Women’s Action Network" both take me to the same place – a form to subscribe to an email list. Please update the link to the action site so I can take an action. THX

  2. This is unthinkably insane and inhumane to force the victim to marry a rapist. How did Islam go from an enlightened way of thinking that birthed mathematicians in its middle ages to a savage illogical ideology that has no regard for common sense, or basic human rights? It's time for Muslims in Islamic countries to stop this madness of extremism that gives rise to these insane ideas of making a victim marry their violator. This makes no logical sense in any religion, country, kindred, or tongue.

    • These laws have been inherited from the French Penal Code, laws that were by the way abolished in France in 1994. So please Mr. Tom Rych, keep your muslim bashing ignorance where it belongs. This savage illogical ideology was pushed forward by the Land of Human Rights, la Républiaue Francaise…

  3. I absolutely agree with your thoughts, it is important that we have the right make our own decisions without having to fear about discrimination and violence. In the end, this is our body and our rights thus no one should interfere with it.

  4. Thats not a good way, this is not allowed at all. Agree with the points given in lights of that event, these kind of the people and the activities should be completely wiped out from the societies.

  5. I do know that in general, Tunisians are very concerned with women's rights. There is a lengthy part of their new constitution dedicated to the protection of women. I am sure that when this throwback to the occupation of France is brought to light very well there, the population will make sure something is done to change it.

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