This incident sheds light on the phenomenon of sexual abuse of children and minors in Morocco, which has begun to take on psychological and social dimensions. In figures of accurate official data, official authorities estimate that about 24,000 children are exposed to sexual assault every year.
Meanwhile, human rights organizations confirm that they receive daily reports and complaints from families that report that one of their children has been a victim of a “human wolf.”
A thunderbolt surprise
After the case of the “pregnant child” who lives in the city of Guercif, eastern Morocco was exposed, the security authorities began their investigations to find the main suspect in the sexual assault of the child. Preliminary data indicate that the matter concerns a 34-year-old male, who is a relative of the victim.
Ibrahim Sheikham, the regional coordinator for an organization that measures my son (Do not touch my child) in the eastern side, revealed that the family was not aware of the child’s pregnancy.
In a statement to “Sky News Arabia”, he states that the mother took her daughter to the hospital, at the end of last week, after she complained of pain in the abdomen. After the examination, the doctor who conducted the examination was surprised that the girl was pregnant with a fetus at the beginning of the fourth month.
The coordinator of the association which deals with childhood affairs stated that the matter is related to “the first case of rape that results in pregnancy in many years.”
The city of Guercif is among the Moroccan regions that record remarkable rates of sexual assault cases in general, especially against minors.
According to Omar Arbib, a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, the association receives almost daily reports of cases of sexual abuse against minors.
In an interview with “Sky News Arabia”, Arbib, who is in charge of the file of children’s rights within the association, considers that the annual figure provided by the Moroccan authorities regarding the exposure of about 24,000 minor children to sexual abuse “does not reflect the truth”, because the numbers presented “only concern Files that link to wipe.
The Moroccan human rights defender considers that rural and marginal areas record high rates of rape, compared to large cities. He attributes the causes to several factors, including the lack of awareness among parents of the need to protect their children from strangers, and the presence of children alone, whether on the long road to distant schools, and sometimes in remote grazing plains, all of which provide fertile conditions for the crimes of “human wolves.”
The role of the school and the media
Morocco was among the first Arab countries to join the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989 and to sign the Universal Declaration in order to preserve the life, care and upbringing of the child in 1992.
However, Omar Arbib, a member of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, believes that the educational system in Morocco “neglects” this aspect when it does not “deal in school curricula and activities to explain and simplify the rights contained in child agreements.”
Several human rights groups concerned with children’s issues advocate the need to include “sex education” in school curricula. It also calls for activating the role of the media in raising awareness regarding the protection of children from all kinds of sexual exploitation.
The legal arsenal
It also calls on human rights organizations to establish a code of child rights, similar to the family code and the labor code, which includes legal and judicial measures to protect children.
In this context, Omar Arbib, who is in charge of the child file at the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, proposes to follow the approach of some Western and Arab countries, which tighten penalties for the aggressor and explicitly recognize “pedophilia” in its legal arsenal.
Moroccan law stipulates a prison sentence ranging from 5 to 10 years for a person who sexually assaulted a child under the age of 12, with an increased penalty in the case of violence.
In 2013, new amendments were introduced to a famous chapter of the Moroccan Penal Code (Article 475), which allowed a rapist for many years to evade prosecution by resorting to marrying his minor victim.
The amendments were approved a year after the child Amina Filali committed suicide due to her marriage to the young man who sexually assaulted her, in a case that left a great shock in Morocco and took an international dimension after the entry of international human rights organizations on the line of that case.