A draft resolution has been approved by the Jordanian government which will stop rapists from avoiding prison if they marry the victim.
Campaigners have fought for decades to get the resolution approved and on April 23, the cabinet repealed Article 308 of the Penal Code, in response to recommendations by a royal judiciary committee, according to state news agency, Petra.
The move will now have to be ratified by parliament.
#Daemformedia proud of the team who achieved government decision of cancelling #article308 pic.twitter.com/IgnGjcgm52
— Daem Media Center (@Daemmedia) April 24, 2017
Princess Basma, who is the sister to King Hussein of Jordan, has always urged debate around the issue, according to local media.
“It is the role of the media to build a unified stand against it and to raise the level of debate to make it a public opinion issue,” Princess Basma is reported to have said.
According to a report in the Independent newspaper, between 2010 and 2013, 159 rapists avoided punishment by marrying their victims in Jordan.
Recently, an installation was held on Beirut’s Corniche, to protest against a similar law in Lebanon.
The Jordanian law says that rape is punishable by up to seven years in prison or capital punishment if the victim is aged 15 or under. However their is a loophole in the statute, which some consider outdated, which would suspend any criminal prosecution if the two people involved get married for a minimum of three years.
In extreme cases, women in Jordan who report rape can be murdered in honor killings.
Suad Abu-Dayyeh, who works for the campaign group Equality Now said that it is shocking that this can still go on in 2017.
“It’s 2017. How can a rapist be allowed to go free and at the same time make a girl or a woman’s life living hell?” Suad Abu-Dayyeh said.
Rape laws are failing women & girls. Sign on to help fix them! https://t.co/NBkN3oUgox … #theworldsshame pic.twitter.com/s5eTdVbHR2
— equalitynow (@equalitynow) April 5, 2017
Equality Now has worked with Noor — a pseudonym — who at the age of 20 became pregnant after being drugged and raped by her employer, a man in his 50s.
“I couldn’t tell my family what had happened. I cried and cried not knowing what to do… He tried to make me calm by saying I will marry you and he promised to go and ask for my hand. In order to make me more confident, he brought a piece of paper and we both signed on as a marriage contract,” Noor said.
Noor fell pregnant and had no choice but to marry the man who raped her. However this development in legalization could mean countless other women would avoid a similar fate.