The article "Death of Rape Victim in Morocco Sparks Calls for Legal Reform" in the New York Times described a tragic story of a young girl in Morocco who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist.
According to the article, Moroccan law protects a rapist from prosecution if he agrees to marry his victim. The law is designed to restore the lost honor of the victim and her family, but some say it effectively legitimizes the crime, and the victim has no say in the decision.
The death of the Moroccan rape victim sparked public outcry for reform, the New York Times reported, citing various public officials and activists. The article did not specify if these activists are currently living in Morocco, or if they are in the United States. This left me wondering where specifically the outcry was coming from, and why there were no comments in the story from everyday people in Morocco if the event caused such an outcry.
Because I am not familiar with Moroccan culture, I spoke with Amina, a University of Minnesota student whose father is from Morocco. Amina happens to share the same first name with the victim in this news story. For privacy reasons, she requested to be identified by her first name only. I asked Amina why only activists for women's rights seemed to be quoted with opinions on the law and the suicide, and not other citizens.
"They maybe wouldn't talk about it," Amina said. "That's a part of Moroccan culture. You don't talk about things like that."
The story of the rape victim was heartbreaking, but the article credited the young girl's story with starting a movement for women's rights in Morocco. The lack of coverage of the opposition to this movement, whether to avoid stereotypes or because of the cultural norms Amina described, made me feel as though I was missing a part of the story. Although I feel the reporter tried to branch beyond stereotypes, I was left wondering whether the women's movement is as large as the article implies, or if it is taking place outside of Morocco.