Malika Slimani, a woman who was raped by a government official, found herself facing contempt charges for protesting an appeals court decision to declare her rapist innocent.
A lower court found Hassan Arif guilty and sentenced him to one year. Malika became pregnant after the rape. DNA evidence confirmed that Hassan, a parliamentary deputy, is the father of her child. Malika was charged with screaming in court and breaking some a statute in front of the court room, a day after the verdict was announced.
I went to the court to talk with Malika about her case. I didn’t get a chance to interview Malika, but I learned more about the case from the people close to Malika. To hear Malika tell her story, click here.
Malika and Hassan met three years ago when Hassan served as mayor of Ain Aouida commune. Malika was doing some paperwork regarding a land issue she had with the commune.
Later, Hassan invited Malika to dinner to discuss her issue. They had dinner at Miramar Restaurant in Temara.
After dinner, he asked her to accompany come him to his farm to continue their conversation because he had to pack for a business trip. They exchanged a few kisses, but when Hassan wanted to have sex, Malika stopped him.
But he ignored her refusal and raped her.
After the rape, Hassan reportedly told Malika: “Cover my shame and I will cover yours.’’
Yes! I consider it rape because when a woman says “No,’’ it means “No.’’
Even if a prostitute refuses a man who is about to pay her to have sex with him, her “No’’ should be respected. When a woman says “NO,’’ she is not consenting to sex, according to the law.
Malika has been fighting for justice for three years, but Hassan has used his influence to silence her. He tried to dismiss the case, but he was convicted. He appealed his conviction and the appeals court overturned the lower court’s decision.
Why did the judge charge Malika for disturbing the court? What woman wouldn’t scream if her rapist was found innocent?! Malika was raped again by the appeals court.
It’s an understandable reaction from a woman who was seeking justice and was fighting for her dignity from a man who told a group of judges in court: “in our religion, we choose to f*** (ننكح) women for her beauty, dignity and fortune. “
What a shame on us as Moroccans that an official can show such disrespect to women?
Every day, women get sexually harassed on the streets, in the workplace, in school and anywhere they go. Some of these assaults can lead to rape. While I was in court, there were eight other rape cases on the docket.
How courageous of those women to come forward, though they live in a society that puts the shame on them for what happened instead of focusing on the perpetrator. There are so many other women who cry in silence every day. And some commit suicide. Remember the case of Amina Filali, the 16-year-old girl who committed suicide after she was forced to marry her rapist.