Article 475: Forced Marriage Forces Change - A Narrative

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Article 475: Forced Marriage Forces Change - A Narrative

Type: Master thesis
Title: Article 475: Forced Marriage Forces Change - A Narrative
Author: Dahl, Michelle
Issue Date: 2016-01-31
Keywords: Morocco
Legal Code
Article 475
Abstract: The pursuit to acquire women’s rights in Morocco has been a decades long quest. Activists and advocates for broader civil rights have been very visible in the news, in different movements and wide spread protests. These efforts have taken place long before the death of a sixteen year-old girl, Amina Filali, who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist in March 2012. The desire for reform happened before the change in 2004 in the moudawana, the family legal code. Additional pressures for reform were exerted after this change in 2004. This activism has continued to take place between the implementation of the moudawana in 2004 and the death of Amina Filali, However, the suicide of Amina Filali was a singular and pivotal moment that brought the various activists groups together serving as an unrelenting catalyst for change. Amina Filali’s suicide united the protest voices as never before and with heightened scrutiny Article 475 of the Moroccan Penal Code was repealed. Amina Filali became the ‘poster child’ for the repeal of Article 475 after her suicide. It was circulated that Amina consumed rat poison in order to commit suicide. After her suicide, a narrative developed and became the widespread assumption that she had committed suicide because she had been forced to marry the man that raped her. Amina Filali was an individual with her own story, but in that moment in time her story was utilized by the coalition of women’s rights advocates. The story of Amina was proclaimed at protests and visible in the news, both within Morocco and internationally. Her tragedy was used to help push the groups’ certain agenda. The agenda was to repeal Article 475. The narrative of Amina’s death was a remarkable tool in gaining attention and unity for various voices including NGOs, human rights activists and political parties. The timeline between her death and the actual repeal demonstrates that she served as the instrument of change.
Supervisor: Nalbantian, T.
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Middle Eastern Studies (Master)
Specialisation: MA Modern Middle Eastern Studies
ECTS Credits: 20

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