Morocco to change law allowing rape marriage
Fouzia Assouli, president of the Democratic League for Women's Rights, echoed Ryadi's concerns, explaining that the code only penalizes violence against women from a moral standpoint "and not because it is just violence."
"The law doesn't recognize certain forms of violence against women, such as conjugal rape, while it still penalizes other normal behavior like sex outside of marriage between adults," she added. Recent government statistics reported that 50 percent of attacks against women occur within conjugal relations.
The change to the penal code has been a long time in coming and follows nearly a year of the Islamist-dominated government balking at reforming the law.
The Justice Ministry at the time argued that al-Filali hadn't been raped and the sex, which took place when she was 15, had been consensual. The prime minister later argued in front of parliament that the marriage provision in the article was, in any case, rarely used.
"In 550 cases of the corruption of minors between 2009 and 2010, only seven were married under Article 475 of the penal code, the rest were pursued by justice," Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane said on Dec. 24.
While Morocco updated its family code in 2004, a comprehensive law combating violence against women has been languishing in Parliament for the past eight years.
Social Development Minister Bassima Hakkaoui, the sole female minister in Cabinet, said in September she would try to get the law out of Parliament and passed.
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