Rabat - Sexual harassment and assaults in Morocco adds pressures and fear to the lives of Moroccan women and girls.
Rabat – Sexual harassment and assaults in Morocco adds pressures and fear to the lives of Moroccan women and girls.
On Sunday, the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) shared a statement with news outlets on the opening of an investigation regarding a video of a rape attempt in Casablanca.
The video, which was filmed by a person from a building close to the crime scene, has gone viral on social media. In the video, the perpetrator tries to force himself on a girl from behind while she was trying to escape.
At one point in the video, the man behind the camera called his friends to see what happened. “Look what is happening right there.”
A few seconds later, a man responded, “Maybe if you scream from here he will hear us and let her go.” However, nothing in the recording indicates that any of the observers took action.
Don’t film, take action
Bouchra Abdou, president of the Association Tahadi for Equality and Citizenship, talked to Morocco World News about the incident.
In her interview with Morocco World News, the activist expressed anger over how people share videos of a sexual nature as if it is something normal.
She said that instead of helping victims, some people film and share videos on social media as a way to present evidence and talk about sexual harassment.
She asked what is the use of publicizing such videos if onlookers take no actions.
The president of Hope Center in Fez, Asmae Kabba, had a similar view.
Kabba told Morocco World News that it is good to document assaults, but people should not share them on social media, but rather give them to the police as an evidence of what they have witnessed.
However, Abdou called on authorities to punish the people who film and share such videos without helping victims.
More policing is needed
Kabba said that there should be local police stations everywhere: districts, forests, and parks.
The activist said that using a security approach would help curb sexual crimes across the country as perpetrators would be afraid of police being present.
“In order for you to file a complaint, you need to walk miles and miles to reach police centers, which are usually located in the center of each city or a town. And it will be late, as perpetrators might have a chance to flee the scene before the arrival of police.”
Kabba also called on the government and security forces to “launch a media campaign and to make perpetrators aware what they risk in case of similar incidents.”
Abdou said that NGOs are not enough to raise awareness about sexual assault, calling on the government to increase its efforts to deal with such issues.
She called on security forces to create a “green light” or a hotline to receive complaints and intervene immediately.
“The police hotline, 19, is not enough. We need another hotline, which is available 24 hours and 7 days a week to receive complaints of sexual assaults.”
She said that the Ministry of Communication must cooperate with telecommunication companies, like Maroc Telecom, Orange, and Inwi to make calls for free to the hotline.
Last week, another video of a rape attempt caused outrage among social media.
Screenshots from the video showcase a topless perpetrator on top of a naked woman, who tried to hide her face while another person filmed.
Some social media users said that the perpetrators were asking her to pay them in order to let her go.
A statement from the DGSN said on Monday that the video dates back to 2016 and that the suspects have been brought to justice.
Recently, a hashtag called Masakatch or (I won’t be silent) was created against violence, sexual harassment and assaults on women.
The movement is similar to the MeToo hashtag, an international movement against sexual assault, rape, and harassment.
Last week Social media users were sharing pictures of another suspect in another location which appears to be in a forest.