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Violence against women: Historic law comes into force and a first victim complains

Written by FDM

Six months after its publication in the Official gazette, the law on Violence Against Women comes into effect on September 12. Repressive judgments and severe punishment to harassers will be provided henceforth by law.

Expected for many years, the law 103-13 on the elimination of violence against women finally enters into force today. The new law has put in place a whole legal arsenal to punish anyone guilty of violence against women.

Prison sentences ranging from one to six months, and fines from MAD 2,000 to 10,000 will punish any violence against women. Sexual harassment, harassment in the public space, forced marriage or the dissemination of images or video for blackmail are also possible sentences of imprisonment.

And within days of the application of the new law, a first victim has already filed a complained. Indeed, the first case that will be decided by the judges is that of Oumaîma Reqqas, a 24-year-old woman who was subjected to harassment in a café in Casablanca. On September 7 at around 6 pm, the young woman entered the said café to join her husband and a friend. She was met with gestures of a sexual nature and lecherous phrases from 3 accused people (who are allegedly well-known comedians). The young woman got into a huge argument with the said men and eventually went to the nearest police station accompanied by her husband to register her complaint.

This case, which could become the first of its kind at the time of the entry into force of the law, would also be a test for the prosecution. As a reminder, the latter had received at the end of July a circular from the Attorney General of the King to sensitize the Ministry to the dimensions of Law 103-13.

Meantime, the Tahadi Association for Equality and Citizenship and many NGOs for women’s rights fear that some women might hesitate to file a complaint. That is why awareness campaigns are already being launched by these NGOs, because law on its own is not enough. Women still have to free themselves from their fear of denouncing the acts of violence against them.