Another day another tragic story, this time it’s rather an unbelievably crucial story of a 17 years old Moroccan girl who goes by the names khadija. This story has become viral on Social Media in Morocco; however, not all opinions were one sided, the story has created a bipartisan split in society.
The girl accused 12 men of snatching her from Oulad Ayad a town in central Morocco. The men later repeatedly raped her taking turns on her for 2 months.
At the time the group of men forced the girl to consume alcohol and drugs which has caused her to black out leaving her oblivious of some parts of the incident, after she woke up she was darkened and couldn’t remember anyone injecting ink on her skin. Her hand legs and the back of her neck were covered with tattoos.
“She was sequestered, raped, tortured and tattooed by a gang of 14 to 15 guys, who also traded her body for cigarettes, drugs, and money,” the girl’s lawyer, Youssef Chehbi, said in a telephone interview.
Afraid of the public’s view regarding their daughter’s honor, her family was afraid and didn’t want to press charges against the rapists. However, the girl moved forward and went to the police with that opening a case against the men whose ages range from 18 to 28 years old.
After this huge step made by Khadija the case became a ferociously disputed topic nationwide. Supporters and activists made sure she is not alone on this raucous journey and took their support on social media creating the hashtag #JesuisKhadija, also a petition was made in her name to raise money for her cause.
The girl was interviewed, and she wants justice “I cried but no one cared – they have no compassion,” Khadija said. “I want justice to be done and [for them] to pay for what they have done to me. How many women [are there] who, out of fear of this hchouma [shame], continue to keep quiet?”
In court the defendants were questioned one by one by the judge and were sent handcuffed to jail until more evidence in the case unravel.
It isn’t uncommon for a girl to have her voice obstructed by a society that majorly idealizes and prioritize men. Topics such as these are considered controversial in a rather patriarchal society and women’s rights are barely met. Some changes in Moroccan law were made to support more victims like Khadija; however, these changes are minimal and don’t go as far as protecting all women in the society. Educating young men and women about the importance of respect and consent is and will always be the key for a safer environment.
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