The controversy comes amid growing anger and frustration due to the recent rape of Ikram, a six-year-old girl.
Rabat – Moroccan gynecologist Khalid Fathi has stirred controversy after making televised remarks linking women’s campaigns to defend individualism with the country’s marked increase in rape cases.
The doctor was recently the guest of a talk show on Tele Maroc, in which other invitees and hosts discussed the increase of rape cases in the country.
Remarks from the gynecologist, however, angered both the other guests and the audience.
The doctor suggested that women defending individualism encourage rape.
For him, rape would not exist if women sought marriage.
“I’ll tell you why rape exists. It does because everyone has a sexual instinct. A desire that must be satisfied. When this desire is repressed, it gives rise to rape!” he argued.
He continued his remarks, saying that women no longer want marriage or to build a family.
“[Women] talk more and more about freedom and body, which means that there is more and more rape.”
The gynecologist said the only way to fight rape is through agreeing to marry.
A petition condemning the doctor’s remarks is gaining traction with Morocco’s netizens, with more than 9,200 signatories adding their names since its launch on Thursday, June 11.
“The purpose of this petition is to condemn the remarks of Mr. Khalid Fathi, who on a television set accused women of being responsible for their rape,” the petition reads.
The petition addressed to Tele Maroc warns that such declarations should not go unnoticed, calling for his ban in national media.
Morocco’s recent pattern of gender-based violence cases
The statement caused uproar on social media amid the increase of rape cases and reports of pedophilia in Morocco.
The first two weeks of June have seen a public uproar due to the rape case of six-year-old Ikram.
A man in his 40 allegedly raped the little girl in the province of Tata.
The uproar followed a court decision to grant the suspect a provisional release after Ikram’s father withdrew his complaint.
Moroccans launched a petition to condemn the court’s decision and to put the suspect in jail pending prosecution.
On June 10, the examining magistrate at the Agadir Court of Appeal again ordered the detention of the alleged rapist.
Moroccan public prosecutor Mohamed Abdel Nabawi said in 2018 that Morocco’s rate of reported rapes had increased from a prior average of 800 annual cases to 1,600 cases in 2017.
Several rape and pedophilia cases have recently made headlines. Certain cases were widely publicized on social media after some rapists filmed their victims during the assaults.
One of the publicized cases was that of 34-year-old Hanan, who was raped and murdered in Rabat on June 9, 2019.
The news went viral after a video documenting the incident appeared online.
The video shows the murderer raping Hanane with glass bottles. The mother of the victim said that the attacker also stabbed holes in her daughter’s body with a screwdriver.
Gender-based violence remains a prevalent issue in the country despite the adoption of Law 103-13 against violence on women in 2018.
A report from December 2019 by Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) shared alarming statistics from a six-month survey.
Out of 13.4 million women aged between 15 and 74, the survey found that more than 7.6 million experienced at least one act of violence in the past year.