More than 6,000 women in Morocco have been left with psychological difficulties in the past year and six have been killed as a result of gender-based violence, according to the Moroccan Association for Women’s Rights.
In their new report released last week, the group detailed the levels of violence against women and the psychological, health and economic effects it has on them as a result.
The report’s findings are based on the testimonies of 4,603 women from support centres linked to women’s associations across Morocco. It concluded that 40 per cent of the total violent acts committed against women were psychological abuse, 840 cases consisted of verbal abuse, 200 resulted in death threats, 903 were threats of physical violence, and 206 were threats of being removed from the marital home.The association also documented 5,037 cases of physical violence which included 237 cases of attempted murder, 241 cases of kidnapping and 622 instances of sexual violence which included 184 cases of rape and 148 cases of sexual coercion.
However the results are only based on the testimonies of a percentage of women in the country and do not indicate the true scale of abuse that often goes unreported. As a result of the violence, women are often left feeling humiliated and fearful, suicidal, or left impoverished or unemployed. The women’s association also criticised Morocco’s criminal law for not protecting the rights of women enough and called for an overhaul of the country’s family legal code. Their concerns are shared by many Moroccan women who protested earlier this year for greater protection in the country’s shared spaces after a number of women were raped en masse and assaulted. The Family Law was reformed 2004 to prevent the discrimination of women but has been criticised for “maintaining men’s power to unilaterally divorce their wives without cause”, “providing unequal access to divorce between men and women”, and for not “adequately protect[ing] women’s economic rights during marriage or upon divorce”.