Amina Filali committed suicide by swallowing rat poison in March 2012. She was 16 years old. Amina was raped in her small Moroccan town by a man she was then forced to marry. Moroccan law allowed rapists to escape prosecution by marrying victims under age 18. In Morocco and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, such acts are often seen to restore the ‘honour’ of the victim and her family. But Amina could not live with her restored ‘honour.’
Amina’s death caused an outcry in Morocco and throughout the region, challenging the misplaced idea that rape can bring a family into disrepute and that the value of a young woman lies in her virginity.
In the wake of Amina’s death, Morocco changed its laws in January 2014. Rapists can no longer escape prosecution by marrying their victim. However, rapists will be punished differently depending on whether or not their victim was a virgin at the time of the attack.
In neighbouring Algeria and Tunisia, the law allows rapists to walk free if they marry their victim—if she is under age 18.