In Morocco, it’s now illegal for a girl to be married before she is 18—but judges have granted special exceptions in 90 percent of the cases before them, according to statistics from 2010. In some cases, people say, this is because the general belief is that it’s more important to save the girl’s honor by forcing her into marriage. This is just one example of Morocco’s unwillingness to enforce laws protecting women’s rights, even if the laws themselves are pretty lax by international standards. The country faced both an international and national firestorm last year when a 16-year-old girl committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist. In addition to the slow legal updates, the culture is also slow to follow. In an online documentary, those interviewed often indicated that a woman were responsible if she is raped—and a woman who had lost her virginity was worthless.
Recently, another tragic case appeared before Morocco’s courts. A young girl named Amal, either 13 or 14, begged the police for shelter after being gang-raped—and she is now pregnant. Although the police were gentle in their questioning and a women’s advocate was present in Amal’s questioning, the advocate said that because Amal is a minor, they could not take responsibility for her.