Rape as Loss of Honor in the Discourse of Moroccan Rape Trials

Fatima-Zahra Lamrani

Abstract


The importance of a girl’s virginity and its strong association with a girl’s honor and that of her family is deeply rooted in the Moroccan culture. This importance is structured and revealed in the Moroccan penal code, which makes loss of virginity an aggravating circumstance of rape. This cultural association between virginity and honor constitutes an oppressive ideology which permeates the discourse of rape trials and generates a number of confusions that are detrimental to the victims of rape. Moreover, the fact that consensual sex outside marriage is forbidden by the Islamic religion and law, for it is considered as a sin (zina), generates a number of negative assumptions about the rape victim’s social image and virtue, and tends to categorize her according to a number of female stigmatized stereotypes. This article aims at showing how these cultural and religious elements, manifest in the discourse of law representatives and lay litigants, function as discursive strategies which blur the issue of rape and contribute to the treatment of its victims as culprits, guilty of crimes of honor, thus making of rape a high-risk complaint for a woman in Morocco.

Cite as: Lamrani, JLL 2 (2013), 1–18, DOI: 10.14762/jll.2013.001


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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14762/jll.2013.001

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