Rabat – Police officers in Rabat have reportedly convinced a young woman, who had been followed and harassed by an unknown man, to refrain from filing an official complaint against the perpetrator after he had been caught by authorities, according to details of the incident posted on Lesiteinfo.com.
The story is far from an isolated incident but Morocco’s legislature has so far been slow to pass a law condemning and punishing perpetrators.
In March, Bassima Hakkaoui, Moroccan Minister of Solidarity Women, Family, and Social Development, proposed a revised version of a draft law that would sentence those convicted of the crime with up to six months in prison.
The status of the bill remains unclear, but Hespress released a video discussing the opinions of a variety of Moroccan citizens on the law earlier this month.
The woman anonymously said she had been walking on King Mohammed V Avenue towards the marketplace at Bab El Ahad when, “as always”, an elderly man – 50 years old or older, began following her and tried to engage her in a conversation:
“Hello,” he said, to which she replied: “Do I know you, sir?”
The man said they had not met before but would like to know the woman over a cup of coffee. After the man refused to accept multiple rejections to his offer, she approached a police station nearby and told the officers about the man, who they caught just as he tried to escape.
The authorities asked the man to show his national identity card, but he produced a business card instead, prompting the officers to yell at him further to provide the documents requested.
The woman declined to provide further details of the events that unfolded over the course of the next hour, but said the officers insisted she dismisses the case since the “man had children” and because she would have to visit a court and deal with the hassle of a trial.
To the perpetrator, she explained that “he had absolutely no right to approach a woman in the street as he did, that the streets do not belong only to men and that it was time that this harassment of women who ‘dare’ to walk in the street stopped.”
Another hour later, she decided to drop the case “not without regret.” She told the harasser that she could have lodged a case against him not because she knew people “in high up places,” but that, as a citizen, she had a “right to walk freely in the street without being harassed.” She also said he was a “pervert” and that his mother, sisters, daughters, and wife suffer every day from the same kind of harassment from other men.
The Police discouraged her from posting her story on social media as well. “It is my right,” she retorted. “We are a country of law, right?”