Rabat - On International Women’s Day, Bassima Hakkaoui, Moroccan Minister of Solidarity Women, Family, and Social Development, announced a new second draft for an anti-sexual harassment law.
Rabat – On International Women’s Day, Bassima Hakkaoui, Moroccan Minister of Solidarity Women, Family, and Social Development, announced a new second draft for an anti-sexual harassment law.
Hakkaoui presented the draft to the general secretariat of the government on Tuesday after the first draft proved to be highly controversial in feminist circles, according to Medias24.
During the presentation of the draft, Hakkaoui acknowledged that the previous version of the bill contained “limited measures” to protect women from the “worrying phenomenon” of sexual harassment “sweeping” the public spaces in the kingdom.
According to the text of the bill, day after day more women are becoming victims of sexual harassment in Morocco.
The new bill legally redefines the spaces in which women can claim they have been sexually harassed. Sexual harassment includes unsolicited acts, statements, or signals of a sexual nature, which are delivered in person, online, or via telephone, the bill says.
The draft includes tougher punishments for perpetrators as well. A person convicted of committing sexual assault could face a combination of jail time, ranging anywhere from one month to six months, and fines, between MAD 2,000 and MAD 10,000.
Perpetrators of sexual violence could be charged with both punishments if they are found to be a coworker of the victim or are part of the country’s security forces, according to the text of the bill.
In addition, if the perpetrator harasses a minor, comes from the victim’s family, or has power over the victim’s assets, the punishment will consist of jail time ranging from three months to five years, as well as a fine ranging from MAD 5,000 to MAD 50,000.
The bill also spelled out jail time, ranging from six months to one year, with fines, ranging from MAD 10,000 to MAD 30,000, for anyone who tries to force another person into marriage through violence or threat of violence. If the victim is a women or a minor, the punishment will be doubled, the bill says.
Khadija Al-Rouissi, a representative from the Authenticity and Modernity Party, criticized the government’s “slow pace” of action in passing an anti-sexual harassment and sexual violence bill during a weekly meeting of the House of Representatives.
“During the government’s failure in this field, [gender-based] violence has increased to affect 40 percent of women and 50 percent of cases of abuse against women remain untried in court files.”