Rabat – Police have reportedly arrested 10 men involved in kidnapping, raping, torturing, tattooing, and holding captive a 17-year-old in central Morocco.
The girl, named Khadija, was subjected to the worst forms of violence during the month she was held by more than 10 men in Oulad Ayad, a small town near Beni Mellal and 150 kilometers northeast of Marrakech.
According to several local media, 1 of the 10 men owned the house where Khadija was being held. After police arrested the men, some managed to escape.
In an interview with Chouf TV, the young lady recounted the nightmare she lived, explaining that she was at her aunt’s house when she was kidnapped in front of the house. The men who took her raped her first before holding her captive in a house where she was handed over to other men for money.
Khadija tried to escape several times, but each time she was caught and tortured. “They didn’t give me food or drink, and I was not even allowed to take a shower.”
“I want justice to be done and [for them] to pay for what they have done to me,” she bravely told reporters.
“For how many women who, for fear of this hchouma [shame], continue to keep quiet?” she added.
The awful story has stirred up outrage and controversy, especially among women’s rights associations.
In a statement obtained by Morocco World News, Bouchra Abdou, an activist, feminist, and director of Tahadi Center, has strongly condemned these “brutal and disrespectful practices of violence against women.”
“The associations concerned with women’s issues raise the alarm for the future of our daughters and women. Law 103-13 to combat violence against women began in August 2018. What we demand is to raise awareness and to use publicity and media tools to sensitize people. We call on the concerned parties to tighten the penalties for the perpetrators of this serious crime, and to take care of the psychological health of the victim,” added Abdou.
One case among thousands
Morocco’s rate of reported rapes increased from 800 cases in 2016 to 1,600 cases in 2017, according to an annual report issued by the King’s attorney general, Mohamed Abdel Nabawi.
In 2017, a total of 17,280 people were arrested on corruption charges, 2,890 for adultery, 5,328 for prostitution, and 2,384 for rape.
Morocco adopted a new law in February against sexual harassment and gender-based violence after years of women’s rights campaigns calling on the government to adopt the law.
Just one month after Parliament passed the law, authorities arrested a 21-year-old man who sexually assaulted a young girl in public on the street in Benguerir city in central Morocco.
The spine-chilling video of the incident, filmed by the culprit’s accomplice, sparked nationwide uproar among Moroccans on social media platforms, who called on authorities to immediately intervene.