Amina Filali committed suicide by swallowing rat poison in March 2012. She was 16 years old. Her desperate act showed the depth of her pain and despair: she must have felt that nobody was there to help her.
We soon learned that Amina had been raped in her small Moroccan town, by a man she was then forced to marry. Imagine being married to your rapist, to be forced to see that person all the time – it would be devastating.
He married her because Moroccan law allows rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their victim, if she is aged under 18.
Amina’s death caused an outcry in Morocco and throughout the region. What shocked people most was that this marriage was sanctioned by law, as well as by a judge who authorized it. It revealed that the state was complicit in covering up a rape. And instead of protecting her as the victim of a crime, the law victimized Amina a second time.
This kind of legislation doesn’t just exist in Morocco, but also in Algeria and Tunisia.
SHAME IS A POWERFUL FORCE
This legal environment prevents women and girls from reporting rape. A victim is not considered as a survivor of a grave act of violence.