Jordan has revoked a law that enabled rapists to avoid punishment, says a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The Jordanian parliament revoked Article 308 of its penal code, which provided that rapists would not face any punishment if they married their victims.
Some Muslim leaders argued against the change, claiming that victims of rape are partly responsible for being attacked, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.
MEMRI said the move came after heated debate, as part of a series of legal amendments.
Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt also have revoked similar laws.
MEMRI said the “abolishment of the law in Jordan, with its conservative society, is a significant achievement for human rights and women’s rights organizations in the country, which in the past few years have been campaigning to amend laws harming the status of women, including Article 308.”
“As part of these efforts, a coalition of 52 social organizations was formed in 2015 with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The coalition acted to raise public awareness of Article 308 and the need to abolish it, including by holding protests and awareness gatherings. The coalition argued that the law encourages rape, especially of minors, and tramples the rights of women,” the organization reported.
The change was widely endorsed, but a minority resisted, the report said.
“Despite the support of the establishment, the call to revoke the article met with opposition in conservative circles, who claimed that marriage is the correct way to handle incidents of rape because it preserves the woman’s honor,” MEMRI reported.
One voice of opposition to dropping the punishment escape clause was Abdallah Abu Zayd, who wrote in the Amon News a defense of the concept.
“Anyone who checks the statistics for crimes committed in the kingdom will find that the rate of rape in particular and sex crimes in general is neither worrying nor problematic, and does not arouse the slightest concern for Jordanian society and its stability. It is possible that most people only heard about it from publications of some press circles that work in collaboration with the heads of organizations and associations, whose method of operation obligates them to raise external funds from Western organizations that provide donations for reasons related to human rights.”