If undergoing the trauma of rape is not bad enough, getting married to the rapist makes things even worse. It’s appalling when someone who should be behind the bars for sexually assaulting a woman, gets to share her bed for life. Unfortunately, for women in the Middle East, this nightmare exists in the form of law. However, a few women’s rights group are now protesting against such depraved laws and we think it’s about time.
Why ‘Marry Your Rapist’ Laws Exist?
It’s really not hard to guess why such laws came into being in the first place. Needless to say, they were conceived to keep a woman and her family’s honour intact by getting her hitched to accused man. After all, no one else would marry the ‘tainted’ woman who lost her honour to another. Fortunately, this no longer seems to be the case.
Campaigns To Eradicate This Depraved Law Are Gaining Momentum
According to a report published in the Independent, provocative public awareness campaigns are part of a new push across the Middle East to repeal longstanding laws that allow rapists to avoid criminal prosecution if they marry their victims.
Shame forces the families of the rape victims to make the match and in return–the accused gets to live a free life and evades punishment. Though this practice has existed for years, women in the Middle East are slowly putting the social stigma behind them to fight for what’s right. In fact, women’s rights group Abaad is putting boodied and torn bridal gown captioned: “A white dress doesn’t cover up rape,” around Beirut, Lebanon, to fight their case.
A Change In The Making
The paradigm shift in the attitude of authorities across all countries in the Middle East is even more encouraging. In 2014, Morocco did its bit by striking a provision that allowed rapists to marry their victims to avoid punishment. Similarly, Lebanon and Jordan are in the process of eradicating the law too.
“Opposition to the push to repeal the marry-your-rapist laws has been far more muted than that to other demands made by women’s groups, including criminalizing marital rape and granting women the right to pass on their nationality to their children. But the impact the prospective changes in the rape laws would have on the lives of ordinary women in the Arab world is yet to be seen,” states a report published in the New York Times.
Here’s hoping that all countries in the Middle East (and the rest of the world) which have not yet scrapped the law, do so in the near future.