Published 19.45 on 13th March 2012
Updated 20.32 on 13th March 2012
The story of a 16-year-old Morrocan girl who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist reverberated through the Arab world on Tuesday. Amina reportedly ingested rat poison in her hometown Larache, in norther Morocco, on the weekend as a last resort to escape her marriage and the domestic violence she experienced at the hands of her husband. The girl’s plight dates back to a year ago, when she was reportedly raped by a man 10 years her senior. After the incident was reported to authorities, the two families struck a deal in which Amina was married to her rapist to preserve her family’s ‘honour’. This example of a practice which is still common in some parts of the Arab world struck a nerve with many. Tweets tagged with #RIPAmina spread like wild fire through social media on Tuesday as many condemned laws that exempt rapists from punishment if they marry their victims.
Amina’s case is far from an exception in the Arab world and one blogger and Middle East analyst commented that it is common to blame women if they get raped.
Nevertheless, the news that her parents forced her into marriage prompted outrage. In a mock personal ad one Moroccan Twitter user wryly joked: “I am a charming girl of 16 years, seeking a kind pervert or preferably rapist for marriage and more if we hit it off”:
Some reports claimed that the judge presiding over the matter in Tangier, northern Morocco, was responsible for the marriage but as one Egyptian Twitter user pointed out, under Moroccan law nobody can be married against his or her will:
Instead, it appears more likely that the girl’s family forced her into marriage: