Rabat - Moroccan social media users launched on Sunday a petition entitled “When Our Sexual Assault Victim Commits a Suicide to Get Justice.”
Rabat – Moroccan social media users launched on Sunday a petition entitled “When Our Sexual Assault Victim Commits a Suicide to Get Justice.”
The petition is aimed at restoring the rights of Khadija, a 17-year-old girl who committed suicide on July 29, after six men who allegedly had sexually assaulted and tortured her over a period of several days were released from custody.
Khadija was born in 1999, in Skhour Rhamna, 99 km away from Marrakech. She was raped and abused last year by eight criminals who subsequently threatened to publish a video documenting the assault after their release.
Social media users expressed indignation over the criminals’ release, and vowed not to turn a deaf ear to the issue of rape or sexual assault that they believe humiliates every Moroccan indigent girl who cannot vindicate her rights under the law. They call on the government to open an investigation and explain the reasons behind the release of the rapists.
Majda, the petition’s creator, wrote a message to Mustapha Ramid, Morocco’s Minister of Justice and Liberties, asking, “How many victims need to immolate themselves before justice is served, and how many rape victims have paved the way for justice, only to have it be in vain because of our neglect?”
Majda added that the issue matters to every single citizen who dreams of living in a just country where criminals are held accountable for their crimes and cannot flee from justice.
“When will Moroccans understand that they are all Khadija and that our lives may one day be turned around? She asked. “When will we understand that we should not wait until the rapists go free and sexual assault victims commit suicide, shedding their last tears to get justice?
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Omar Arbib, a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), in Marrakech, said that most of the eight men who attacked Khadija are drug dealers. They raped the teenage girl in a town located in the halfway between Ben Guerir and Marrakech.
In a video clipped from news channel 2M’s bulletin, Fatna Farah, the mother of Khadija is shown lying on the ground screaming in front of the court house in Ben Guerir.
“I had been going to the court with my daughter Khadija, who cried and begged for her rights,” the mother said, in tears. “I could not afford anything to help take back the rights of my daughter – I desperately need to restore her rights [for the criminals to be brought to justice].”
The video shows people praying in front of Khadija’s grave in her hometown Skhour Rhamna that she was forced to leave at the age of 14 to find a job in Ben Guerir to support her widowed mother and younger siblings.
According to an eyewitness present at the scene of the suicide, he saw the smoke as others tried to put out the fire only with dirt. People called the fire department, who arrived more than an hour later.
Last Thursday, the police arrested six suspects said to be involved in the suicide of Khadija and the investigation is said to be still underway.
Edited by Elisabeth Myers