White ribbon to oppose violence against women- CC via wikimedia commons
CAIRO – 23 August 2017: Six teenagers in Morocco sexually molested a 24-year-old mentally challenged woman in a public bus, while the other passengers passively watched. A video posted on Sunday went viral on social media and caused outrage.
The suspects, aged 15-17, were arrested on Monday following the release of the video, according to a French statement published by the public transport company M’Dina Bus.
The Moroccan police reported that neither the woman’s family nor the bus driver filed a complaint regarding the incident, which happened on Friday, August 18.
In its statement, M’Dina Bus defended its position of the police accusations regarding why the bus driver did not intervene by saying that the video was too short (less than a minute in length) and that the company cannot confirm whether or not the bus driver had interfered.
Moroccan activists called for a sit-in on August 23 in Rabat to condemn the crime and to call for tougher penalties on violence against women, including sexual violence. Some Moroccan women took to social media, posting: “It’s time to fight for our rights.”
Moreover, Moroccan media outlets reported the incident by titling it ‘Horror in Casablanca’ or ‘Monsters commit an odious crime’.
The incident is not the first of its kind in Morocco. Less than two weeks ago, Moroccan media reported a video showing a group of men following a young woman walking alone in the country's northern city of Tangiers. The video showed a woman panicking, trying to flee from the large group of young men. Furthermore, in 2016, a 16-year-old Moroccan girl committed suicide after being raped by eight men.
In 2014, the parliament in Morocco amended an article in the penal code, which exonerated the rapist if they married the victim.
Violence against women in Morocco has always been a hot topic. Official figures show that two-thirds of Moroccan women have experienced violent attacks, especially in public places where collective harassment and molestation is generally carried out by young people.