Marry-Your-Rapist Laws are Falling

Throughout the Middle East, women’s rights groups have strived to repeal longstanding laws that allow rapists to avoid criminal prosecution if they marry their victims. The laws were built around patriarchal attitudes that link a family’s honor directly to a woman’s chasity, in which the marriage option is aimed at shielding the victim’s family from “the scandal.” Parliamentary votes are expected this summer in Lebanon and Jordan after government committees recommended repealing similar exemptions for both the accused and the convicted. Experts link this movement to repeal these laws to a steady expansion of women’s education in the region and a new kind of public activism spurred by social media. The marry-your-racist loophole still permeates in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country.

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