A year after a 16-year-old girl in Morocco committed suicide after being forced to marry the man who raped her, the northern African nation's government announced plans to change the law to outlaw the traditional practice. Rape within a marriage is still legal there, and marriages can be arranged with females younger than 18. So, in related news, life in Morocco still really sucks if you're female.

34 Responses to “Morocco will change law allowing rapists to marry their victims to avoid prison”

  1. TooGoodToCheck says:

    So. . .  this is not exactly the same situation, but there was a story just yesterday about a teacher in the North Carolina who married the student she had slept with to avoid statutory rape charges

    http://gawker.com/5978167/teacher-who-faced-statutory-rape-charges-for-sleeping-with-student-fends-off-trial-by-marrying-him

  2. Morocco will change law allowing rapists to marry their victims to avoid prison

    I thought this meant they were changing the law to allow rapists to marry their victims.

  3. LinkMan says:

    So under the old rules, if you had your eye on a girl who wasn’t interested, all you had to do was rape her and she would automatically be yours?  That sounds like a really well thought-out incentive system.

    • jandrese says:

      The society that has laws like this doesn’t really care what the girl thinks in the first place.  A woman’s place in the law is similar to that of a piece of property, something you trade between families to build business relationships and to produce wealth for the families.  Treating women as human beings is a fairly modern concept and not all of the world has caught up. 

      • LinkMan says:

        Yeah, but even if you look at the woman as property, it’s STILL fucked up.  For example, if I wanted your car and you didn’t want to sell it to me, I could just vandalize it and then you’re forced to sell it to me if I want to avoid going to jail?

      • NI MEN HAO-DY TRAMPOLINA says:

         What parts of the world would you say have ‘caught up’? Name one.

        • jandrese says:

          Western Europe, North America, and so on?  Really most of the civilized world.

          I’m not talking about glass ceiling/equal pay stuff here, I’m talking about societies that treat women as property, disallow them from getting educations, formalize the “women should be pregnant, barefoot, in the kitchen, and not speak unless spoken too” in law, etc…

    • tsts says:

      Well, it depends on your status. Many Latin American countries (used to) have similar laws, and in practice this means that if you are from a richer family, there is a good chance this gives you a way out if things should ever get dicey on the legal front. But if you are poor, and rape the rich landowner’s daughter, you just end up in a ditch with a bullet in the head, and she might get sent to Miami or another place for an abortion. 

      The main thing such a law does is take many cases out of the legal realm, and into private “negotiation” between possibly very unequal parties, or into “traditional” systems of dealing with this.

      And many states in the US allow marriage before age 18 with parental consent. Alabama allows it at 14, and Utah used to until recently.

      • Boundegar says:

        14 in Pennsylvania too.  It’s those wacky Mennonites.

        • Supernumerary says:

          Pennsylvania baffles me. Every trip I’ve ever taken there has been lovely, but the news (and politicians) which comes from the state makes it sound more and more like the Deep South’s stereotypes relocated.

      • Missy Pants says:

        Commenting on the furor caused by Jerry Lee marrying his 13 year old cousin, Ronnie Hawkins said: “…all us southern cats knew she was only 12″

  4. anonymity86 says:

    Girls under 18 can get married in California too, as long as there is parental consent.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      The parental consent part makes it creepier, because then it really sounds like a retail transaction.

      • C W says:

        Their home life was obviously not great beforehand :(

      • So this angle of the story here, and the replies, bothers me.  Yes, people under 18 are less mature and not legally “adults”, but there is no consistent idea that you should be 18 for sex (age of consent), for marriage, etc.  The “Oh but this is terrible child abuse” ignores that kids are – across the country – pretty uniformly starting to fuck each other shortly after they get over the worst teen angst, and in many cases before.  Laws that say “Thou shalt not!” seem draconian and throwback, not the other way around.

        And once you accept that at least within same-age-group-ranges kids having sex is just not reasonable to prohibit, marriage should be considered on the table.

        Yes, forcing kids to marry is ludicrous.  Yes, selling kids to someone for marriage is barbaric.  No, if a 17 year old is mature enough (and plenty are) that they’re as good as the average 18 year old, who are you to tell them no?  I don’t think it’s generally a good idea for just any 17-year-old, but I know some people who were together enough at 16 that they made better judgements than others at 21.

        There’s a huge range here – that in no way supports adult sexual abuse of children – that still allows teens to legally be sexual, and in some cases to marry.

        At some point you have to stop dictating their decisions to them and let them go.  At 18 you can’t; at 17 or 16 maybe you shouldn’t.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          I see no reason why we should still be talking about sex and marriage like they’re related concepts. Sex carries the risks of pregnancy, STDs and getting your feelings hurt, the first two of which can be pretty easily avoided. Marriage is a gigantic bag of complicated legal and financial obligations that pretty much nobody except divorce lawyers really understands fully. Marriage is far more fraught with painful unintended consequences than sex.

          • Annnd this justifies banning it for under-18s why?

            Driving cars and signing up for military service are also complicated legal and financial situations which many of the people entering into them are not fully aware of when they start.  We let 17 year old kids do both of those.

            If you think accidentally having kids at 14 is not as painful an unintended consequence as a messy divorce at 17 or 18, I disagree.  Divorces are at least final; kids are at least 19 years of pretty intense involvement, unless you give up for adoption.

            If kids at 14 and 15 having sex with each other is not abhorrent, then why is marriage at 17 or maybe 16 not at least legally tolerable, even though I doubt most of us here would recommend it.

            Sure, it’s possible that older-man-underage-girl marriages could be abusive, and I am reasonably sure that happens some in real life, but so do some abusive older-man-18-year-old-woman marriages.

            It may generally be a bad idea, but in many US states it’s legal, and I don’t think that making it stricter or less morally OK is a good idea.  Something to be wary of?  Sure.  Ban or suppress?  Uh, no.  Counsel the kids, but don’t ban them.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            We should probably have mandatory Contracts 101 classes in high school.

          • marilove says:

            @Antinous_Moderator:disqus Schools don’t include enough information about financial or contractual subjects in general. The credit score is so very important, but not one peep! Why is this sort of stuff not taught in school?

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Because predators always try to keep prey from being educated.

        • C W says:

          “So this angle of the story here, and the replies, bothers me.”

          So is your sad attempt to devils’ advocate in a thread devoted to child rapists. This isn’t an issue of statutory rape, this is nonconsensual, often violent rape, forced into a lifetime of rape.

          Congrats for your having a dumb opinion.

      • Missy Pants says:

        You need to read up on Courtney Stodden I see. 

      • NI MEN HAO-DY TRAMPOLINA says:

         That is what it is, essentially… I mean, your father gives you away, etc (I was in all 3 of my sisters’ weddings… shudder) Marriage is a property contract. Women are the property.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Yeah, the veil and the property exchange that people talk about when they’re complaining about The Muslims, is happening right in front of them at their own friends’ weddings.

  5. Jen Onymous says:

    *checks off another country that I will never visit/spend a dime in*

    • Itsumishi says:

      If you’re going to check off countries for screwed up aspects of society and politics  you may as well leave the planet.

      Instead of the attitude you’ve taken, why not instead visit Morroco, talk to people, engage with their culture, become educated about some of the positive things Moroccan society offers, spend money and help alleviate some of the poverty many Moroccan’s live in. In other words, be a positive influence, rather than no influence.

      Tourism really helps lift developing nations out of poverty, as poverty rates lift, education usually follows. As education and poverty rates lift,  people can expend energy overcoming society’s other ills.

  6. taj says:

    This all comes down from the books of Moses:

    22:28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
    22:29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

     That’s Deuteronomy, in the Christian OT. The whole of Chapter 22 is pretty enlightening.

  7. mxp0 says:

    Check out the reporting from Morocco by Global Girl Media, a Los Angeles based non-profit that encourages women, including young women, around the world to become witnesses and journalists to their circumstances. They have a presence in Morocco. View the videos and the mission statement, and see what some voices on the ground have to say about what’s happening. http://globalgirlmedia.org/reports/by-region/morocco/.

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