Until recently, a rapist who married his victim in Jordan was able to get away with it, as per Article 308 of its constitution. Now Article 308 has been amended and will not allow a rapist to marry his victim, and elude prosecution charges.
The article had also allowed marrying a minor after a sexual relationship with her. After Jordan became a signatory of the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in 2013, women’s rights activists started pushing to repeal the law. Activists held many protests outside the Jordanian Parliament.
King Abdullah II of Jordan finally assigned a Royal Commission for Judicial Reform in 2016 to review the article. Prime Minister Hani Al-Mulki endorsed repealing the law in the opening session of parliament recently.
Members of Parliament voted for the repeal for different reasons. Activists said that religious conservative members voted to repeal the law to stop consensual sex outside marriage. Part of the Article had allowed the marriage of those who had engaged in adultery, and many were using it as a loophole to convince their families to let them marry their lovers. The law was not easy to pass since the liberal members of the parliament are a minority. It has taken women’s rights activists 20 years of struggle for this one victory.
Many Islamic countries have laws that protect rapists by allowing them to marry their victims. Morocco repeated its marry-your-rapist law in 2014, after a teenager killed herself after marrying a man who raped her.
“Jordan is now setting a very good example for other countries in the region that still have these discriminatory legal provisions, Suab Abu-Dayyeh, an activist, told The New York Times.
Let’s hope more countries take note and the marry-your-rapist law is repealed the world over.
Also Read: Lawyer Defending Rape Convict Says It’s Not The Worst Crime