By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, March 16, 2012
Just as we can not imagine a fish living with a hyena because a fish dies if it emerges from water and a hyena meets the same destiny if it dives into water, we should not have accepted Amina Filali having lived with her rapist in the same house because Amina was an innocent, young girl, while the rapist was a monstrous, quite old man. We Moroccans should have condemned the act of forcing Amina to marry her rapist, at least so as to save this victim from committing suicide.
No doubt, if Amina Elfilali hadn’t been forced to marry her rapist, I don’t think she would have committed suicide. Committing suicide must have been a last desperate reaction by her. So, all those who forced her to get married, including ourselves, must be held responsible to varying degrees.
To our dismay, Moroccan family code does not protect girls who have been raped as long as Article 475 decrees that the perpetrator must marry his victim to avoid prosecution and to avoid dishonoring the victim’s family. This law doesn’t respect a raped innocent girl as a human being with dignity, freedom to choose her second half, and her right to lead a happily married life.
In this respect, the late, poor Amina took the burden she herself didn’t cause and choose, but it was the law that enforced on her a terrible marriage she never dreamed about. The law, unfortunately, enforced on her the burdens she was carrying on her shoulders. She bore inside her the repercussions of the rapist’s lustful desires. In other words, she suffered a traumatic act she did not do, but rather was done to her. Logically, one bears the responsibility of their actions, not others’. Amina’s suicide is understandable. And the law behind this suicide must be altered sooner or later.
Personally, I hold Amina’s parents partially responsible for what has befallen their daughter for several reasons. Even if the parents are forced to marry Amina to her rapist according to article 475, they must bear in mind that their daughter is not necessarily born to live with someone she hates, can’t bear seeing, and feels a complex against. They must bear in mind that the life and future of their daughter can never be likened or compared to the fear of losing the victim’s family’s honor and respect in the eyes of society.
They also must bear in mind that if they had set the rapist free, their daughter would never have dared commit suicide. The victim’s parents are the ones that signed the contract that legally marrying their daughter to her rapist. Whether forced or not, they are responsible to the death of the innocent 16-year-old girl who chose to die. Certainly, we all share responsibility, and much of it is on the parents’ shoulders for the rest of their lives.
We Moroccan citizens are also to assume some of the responsibility for the main reason that we did not condemn the act of Amina’s being married to her rapist. We Moroccans turned a blind eye to the tens of innocent girls getting married every day without their consent, let alone when an innocent girl, like Amina is forced to marry her. Where were we when Amina complained about her rapist’s beatings? Where were we when Amina bore an untold tale inside her heart?
Simply, the tale was that she would sooner or later commit suicide as her heart was growing bitterer and bitterer. Why do we cry over Amina’s death, and not over the everyday occurrence of the reasons that lead to such a death as that of Amina? It is no use shedding tears as responsible Muslim Moroccans now that what was done has been done and Amina will no longer come back to life. So as long as we did not decry the grave act that allows girls that are raped to be married to their rapists, we shall assume responsibility for the pitiful and heart-breaking outcome.
The grave mistake of the judge behind the decision of marriage was that he did not put himself in the victim’s and family’s shoes. The judge did not take into account that an innocent girl is innocent of the callous act of the perpetrator and must not, therefore, be penalized for something she did not do. The judge is also to be held accountable, for his decision that culminated in Amina’s suicide. The judge must now bear in mind that having recourse to unwanted marriage as a remedy to the traumatic experience of rape has led us nowhere but to Amina’s unnatural death and more grief for the victim’s family.
Now, a large number of Moroccans have cried over the poignant destiny of Amina, but crying is of no avail. Let us be reminded that we all kept our lips sealed when Amina was attacked by her rapist for what he did to her, by the society for prioritizing fear of losing face over the victim’s dignity, by the law for not protecting the victim from something she is innocent of, by her parents for condoning the judge’s decision, by the judge for not putting himself in the innocent girl’s shoes, by tradition for disobeying the value of humanity towards the innocent girl, Amina, and by Article 475 for allowing the fish to live with the hyena.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Omar Bihmidine is high school teacher of English. He obtained his Associate Degree at Choaib Eddoukali University in 2008. His writings take the form of short stories, poems and articles, many of which have been published in Sous Pens magazine, in the ALC magazine in Agadir, and in the late Casablanca analyst newspaper. He can be reached at: [email protected]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.
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