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Tags: ML | Jordan | Sexual Assault

Jordan Parliament Urged to Repeal 'marry the Rapist' Clause

Jordan Parliament Urged to Repeal 'marry the Rapist' Clause

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 05:49 AM

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordanian activists and an international rights group urged Jordan's parliament on Tuesday to repeal a provision that allows a rapist to escape punishment if he marries his victim.

Parliament was to vote on the proposed change later in the day, as part of an overall reform of the penal code.

The push for reform had come from a royal committee, which recommended repealing Article 308 — the "marry the rapist" clause. However, lawmakers have since proposed amendments, such as immunity from prosecution for someone who has consensual sex with a minor between the ages of 15 and 17, and then agrees to marry the minor.

The debate in parliament reflects the social chasms in the kingdom.

Despite a pro-Western political orientation outlook and cosmopolitan urban elites, many areas of Jordan remain socially conservative, with entrenched notions of "family honor." This includes the belief that having a rape victim in the family is shameful, and that such "shame" can be expunged through marriage.

Critics said a failure to repeal Article 308 and instead adopt amendments would mean a step backward in a campaign of many years to end impunity for violence against women.

The international group Human Rights Watch called for a repeal of Article 308, saying it has been "a blight on Jordan's human rights record for decades."

The New York-based watchdog said the existence of the loophole for rapists puts pressure on women and girls to marry those who assaulted them, including teen-age victims.

Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt have scrapped similar clauses over the years, the group said. It said Lebanon's parliament is considering repealing such a provision.

The "marry the rapist" provision remains on the books in several other countries in the Middle East and Latin America, as well as in the Philippines and Tajikistan, HRW said.

Ahead of Tuesday's vote, several dozen activists rallied outside parliament, calling for repeal. They held up banners reading "Article 308 is a disgrace to the Jordanian justice system" and "Article 308 does not protect honor, it protects the culprit."

Salma Nims, the secretary general of the Jordanian National Commission for Women, said that many of the lawmakers were undecided. She said some saw the provision as a form of "protection" for women who can demand marriage rather than suffer further social stigma for having been raped

The need for such "protection" indicates a fundamental problem in how Jordanian law and society conceive of women, said Eva Abu Halaweh, executive manager of Mizan for Law, a human rights group.

"The law still looks at women as bodies, linked with 'honor,'" Abu Halaweh said.

Associated Press writer Reem Saad in Amman, Jordan contributed reporting.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


MiddleEast
Jordanian activists and an international rights group urged Jordan's parliament on Tuesday to repeal a provision that allows a rapist to escape punishment if he marries his victim.Parliament was to vote on the proposed change later in the day, as part of an overall reform...
ML,Jordan,Sexual Assault
443
2017-49-01
Tuesday, 01 August 2017 05:49 AM
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