Rabat – While Morocco’s Ministry of Family and Solidarity seeks to criminalize cyber-violence against women, feminists and social activists think that the government should rather focus on making sure that Draft Law 103-13, criminalizing all violence against women, sees the light of day.
On Friday, Minister of Family, Solidarity, Equality and Social Development, Bassima Hakkaoui, voiced her opinion in a national seminar organized by the Hespress Center for Surveys and Media in cooperation with the ministry.
For Hakkaoui, women are not verbally and physically harassed on public spaces and public transportations. With the increasing reach of internet and social media, cyber-violence against women and girls has become a serious threat in Morocco.
The seminar’s panel discussion tackled “the phenomenon of violence against women on social media.” Hakkaoui vowed that the government was committed to criminalize cyber-violence against women in Morocco.
The Moroccan official also said that the government should set a law that would punish people who commit cyber-violence against women, who are victims of all forms of violence “not because they want to be, but because that’s what they are wanted to be: weak.”
“In wars for example, women suffer more than soldiers because they are subjected to different forms of violence,” said Hakkaoui.
The minister said that the challenge today in Morocco is to bring the legislation on violence against women into force.
Law Against Violence is a Myth for Women Activists
After the release of a report in 2016 by the National Observatory on Violence Against Women revealed alarming findings on gender-based violence, many women activists called on the government to adopt draft law 103.13, that would protect women from violence. This bill would “impose strict punishment to anyone violating this law,” Bouchra Abdou, a feminist activist, told Morocco World News.
The report, which was issued in 2016, explains that 73 percent of Moroccan women have suffered from sexual harassment and verbal assaults in public spaces.
Asked about Hakkaoui’s statements regarding cyber violence against women, Souad Ettaoussi, another feminist and social activist, said that there should be a general law on violence against women in the first place, before speaking about measures to protect women from cyber violence.
“We have been urging the government since 2006 and even earlier to put a law that would protect women from all sorts of violence,” said Ettaoussi.
Voicing her anger regarding the issue, the activist told MWN that “constitutional reforms were done in less than six months, while a simple law that would guarantee women more rights and protect them from violence has been delayed for years and years.”
Ettaoussi said that women activists have been urging the government to take necessary measures to curb violence since 2006, when Yasmina Baddou was Morocco’s Secretary of State in charge of Family.
Speaking about Morocco’s Draft Law 103-13, the activist said that this law has been talked about for many years now, but it has yet to see the light of day.
“As the years went by, I lost hope on this law to be honest,” said the activist.
The activist stressed the need for a comprehensive legislation to protect women in Morocco.
“If we fail to solve violence in general, how can we deal with cyber violence?”
Women’s rights in Morocco has been the kingdom’s Achilles heel. Presented to the parliament back in 2013, the 103.13 bill has been setting in the House of Councilors drawers since 2015, waiting for approval.