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Moroccan woman raped and arrested after her rapist was declared innocent

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.

 

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Leila Ghandi : My first inspiring Moroccan woman

First of all, before telling you why is she the first Moroccan woman who was capable of inspiring me, I must say who is she. Laila Ghandi is a photographer, a journalist and an independant filmmaker (before becoming at TV host on the Moroccan Channel 2M) who travels the world seeking a give and take from it by :

  • learning from her cultural experiences in the different countries where she travels, and by
  • sharing these experiences using her camera.

This video may be interesting for French speaker, a video where she briefly summarize the spirit of her work and her leitmotifs :

So why do I find her so inspiring ? Because I consider myself as a “Walker through life”, which means that I like to explore all what life can give as as experience and Leila Ghandi definitely illustrates this as I truly believe that the best way to fully explore life is to travel around the world seeking those kind of cultural experience.

This is actually the first thing that caught my attention. But of course, when you come to learn more about someone, you tend to see other facets. Sometimes you found that person more inspiring or… you get disappointed.

But she just became the first Moroccan woman who truly inspires me. She made a from her passion a great work. By this, she’s not just telling us that you can live by your dreams and passions BUT she also telling us that you have to give and take, that passions and dreams are not just individual experiences but a collective one when you share what you learned for those experiences with the world around you in order to share its benefits.

RELIGION & FEMINISM

Can someone be a feminist & a religious at the same time ? Let’s try to answer it using pure logic.

First of all we should distinguish between religion -spiritually speaking- and religion as an institution. The first one is purely individual and does not take direct actions in the collective community life, it’s the last one that concern us.

An institution implies power and a purpose serving the power owners behind each action whatever the front purpose (good or bad) is, which is of course also the case of religious institutions. Also, it is commonly known that all the sacred books have been written & religious institution founded at a time when the power of decision was owned by men while women’s rights were inexistent.

Religious institutions kept the women in a very degraded position over the centuries. For example, in Monotheist Religions, women are the main cause for putting out the whole humanity from heaven. About inheritance in Islam, men gets the double than women. Yes, it was in a time when the men were in charge, but what about now ?

So, this is why you can’t be a feminist defending women’s rights and be a religious among a religious institution. Unless, you’re suffering from schizophrenia.

Religious institutions can be accepted in the feminism world only if they make progress by adapting their values system with the present society model. As for the example of the inheritance in Islam, women now are a pillar in the financial matters in the family.

However, if we talk about religion from the spiritual side that implies respect, a continuous self questioning and improvement for ourselves and everything around us where “there is no need for temples” (Dalai Lama), so yes you can be religious and a feminist at the same time.

But actually, no religion & no one gives someone his rights. We have to work -not to fight- for our rights, and it’s only then that law guarantee it & society respect it.