According to INSAF, single mothers still suffer from discrimination in law and society in Morocco. While single mothers can be prosecuted under the law for extramarital relations, the men they had those relations with can escape liability from prosecution. Thus, INSAF is calling for the removal of Article 490 of the Penal Code that criminalizes extramarital relations. “These women, who are single mothers, can be prosecuted,”according to INSAF.
INSAF is also calling for a systematization of the DNA test, so that women will be protected and not bear the sole responsibility for children born out of wedlock.
Single mothers suffer also from societal stereotypes, and even from verbal abuse from administrative staff they have to deal with. More seriously even than this, single mothers cannot obtain the Moroccan “family book” (a background document to prove family ties that combine various family members that includes information concerning the dates and places of birth of family members). This lack of the basic citizen’s document can cause further administrative and legal problems for the mother’s children.
Some women engage in extramarital relations because they think by doing so, and by having a child, men will be obliged to marry them. In other words, they seek to secure husbands who will look after them.
However, Beatrice Beloubad, director of SOS Children’s Village in Morocco thinks that the problem of having more and more single mothers is not only due to lack of education, but also to the prevailing mentality.
“We should not always cry over destiny of single mothers. Many relationships between men and women are entered into consciously. Girls are not all poor illiterates who know nothing, but think that if they have a child, they will keep the husband, and that marriage is synonymous with success.”
She adds “Of course, we must sensitize young men and women who happen to have an extramarital relationship to an awareness of not abandoning their children; no one is more responsible than the other.”
Photo courtesy of Association INSAF