So, instead of constantly posting the horrible articles on the region, here’s a little quiz. Which one should you read?
The subject matter is the same: The suicide of Amina Filali, a young Moroccan girl who was forced to marry her rapist.
A) Here is a piece on the Washington Post entitled, “New Arab order: In Morocco, uproar over marriage law tests Islamist government.” It begins as so:
Amina el-Filali, a moon-faced Moroccan peasant girl, seemed destined for an obscure life in this dreary little farming village 50 miles south of Tangiers.
But that was before she was lured into sexual relations at age 15 by a 23-year-old unemployed laborer who took her into a shed next to the eucalyptus grove behind her house. That was before she was ushered into an early wedding, with the man who took her virginity, by a traditional Muslim family eager to salvage its honor. And that was before she swallowed rat poison to commit suicide rather than endure what she told her mother was an unbearable marriage.
Since Amina took her life shortly before lunch March 10, she has become a national cause, an icon for women’s groups, human rights organizations, progressive politicians and millions of Western-oriented Moroccans who have demanded changing a law that permits marriage at such a young age.
B) Here is a piece on Jadaliyya entitled, “Young Women Demanding Justice and Dignity: By All Means Necessary.” It begins as so:
Amina Filali was a young Moroccan girl who was raped at the age of 15 then forced to marry her rapist. She was battered, bruised, and starved until she committed suicide in March 2012. She was 16 years old. Contributing to Amina’s suicide are her rapist turned husband, article 475 of the Moroccan penal code that absolves an aggressor of his crime once he consents to marrying his rape victim, the judge who called for a mediation instead of a prosecution against the offender, the police, and the religious clerics who have given their blessings to the rapist. Amina’s suicide exposes, once again, an entirely flawed legal system and deeply distorted patriarchal honor code that decriminalizes the oppressor and condemns the victim.
Behind her death is the lethal combination of state sanctioned gender violence, legal blindness, and societal silence.
Article 475 of the Moroccan Penal code states:
“Whoever, without violence, threats or fraud, abducts or attempts to remove or divert a minor under eighteen years, is punished by imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of 200 to 500 Dirhams. When a nubile minor is removed or diverted marries her captor, the latter may only be prosecuted when a complaint if filed by a person(s) entitled to apply for annulment of marriage and cannot be sentenced until after the annulment of marriage been pronounced.”
- Which one begins with factual information instead of plunging into a problematic interpretation of the situation?
- Which one objectifies Amina as a “moon-faced Moroccan peasant girl” and which one addresses Amina as a “young Moroccan girl?”
- Which one refers to Amina’s rape as being “lured into sexual relations” and which one refers to Amina’s rape as rape?
- Which one points to a “traditional Muslim family” wanting to “salvage its honor” as the root cause for the situation and which one points to a nuanced breakdown of the situation all based on an “entirely flawed legal system and deeply distorted patriarchal honor code?”