Marry-Your-Rapist Law Proceeds to Upper House of Parliament for Repeal in Jordan

Marry-Your-Rapist Law Proceeds to Upper House of Parliament for Repeal in Jordan

On August 1st, the Lower House of Parliament in Jordan voted to repeal Article 308, a law allowing a rapist to evade criminal punishment by marrying their victim. If the repeal is passed by the Upper House of Parliament and King Abdullah II, as is expected, Jordan will join Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia of Arab countries repealing similar laws. According to the Human Rights Watch, “the clause remains on the books in Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, the Palestinian territories, and Syria, as well as several countries in Latin America, the Philippines, and Tajikistan” [1].

Jordanian culture is based heavily on the concept of ‘family honor,’ an ideology deeply rooted in female chastity. Proponents of the law believe marriage expunges the crippling ‘shame’ of rape [2]. Opponents such as Eva Abu Halaweh, manager of a human rights group called MIzan for Law, have stated that “the need for such ‘protection’ indicates a fundamental problem in how Jordanian law and society perceive women” [3]. This repeal would be the second recent step in legal reform of antiquated laws in Jordan. Just a few days before the vote on Article 308, parliament amended a legal loophole that led to sentencing those who killed female relatives in a “fit of rage” to as little as 6 months in prison “in the name of ‘family honor’” [4].

References

1. Alice Su, “Jordan Activists Celebrate the Repeal of a ‘Marry the Rapist’ Law,” last modified August 1, http://time.com/4883487/jordan-marry-rapist-law/

2. Somini Sengupta, “Jordan Moves to Repeal Marry-Your-Rapist Law,” last modified August 1, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/01/world/middleeast/jordan-rape-law.html

3. Associated Press, “Jordan takes step toward nixing “marry the rapist” law, last modified August 1, 2017, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jordan-marry-rapist-law-rape-convicts- escape-punishment-marriage/

4. Camila Domonoske, “Jordan Begins to Scrap Law Allowing Rapists to Evade Punishment by Marrying Victim,” last modified August, 1, 2017, http://www.npr.org/2017/08/01/540849317/ jordan-begins-to-scrap-law-allowing-rapists-to-evade-punishment-by-marrying-vict

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