In the Arab nation of Jordan, it has been legal for a rapist to avoid jail time by marrying his victim; the ‘Marry the Rapist’ law is provided for under Article 308 of the Jordanian Penal Code.
Article 308 stipulates that perpetrators of rape may be pardoned if they marry their victims and stay with them for at least three years.
This law has been seen by some as a means to ‘safeguard’ the victim from the social stigma associated with having sexual intercourse outside of marriage.
However, this law is also seen as a violation of one’s human rights.
On Tuesday, August 8, following a controversial debate, the lower house of Jordan’s parliament voted to repeal Article 308.
The decision will still require approval by the Parliament’s upper house (Senate) and by the King Abdullah II.
If approved, Jordan will join the likes of Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia which have abolished similar laws.
Wafa Bani Mustafa, a lawyer and parliamentarian was the first to propose abolishing Article 308 and believes that ‘changing the legislation is a vital part to changing society’.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Mustafa said, “this is a strong message to society that there will not be any legal leniency in such crimes. There will be no legal cover for perpetrators”.
Despite the fact that further approval needs to be sought the women across Jordan celebrate this historic decision and the decision to abolish the law giving reduced charges to crimes involving the murder of women (Article 98).
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