The Minister of Family, Solidarity, Equality, and Social Development Bassima Hakkaoui shared alarming data on Tuesday, showing that violence against women is still prevalent.
The data is collected from preliminary results of the second National Survey on the prevalence of violence against women in Morocco. The findings of the survey show that the rates of violence against women stand at 54.4% nationwide.
Hakkaoui said that the rate of violence against women in urban areas is 55.8 % in rural areas, while the rate of domestic violence in rural areas was slightly lower at 51.6 %. The ministry conducted its nationwide survey between January 2 and March 10.
The Minister explained that the most vulnerable women are aged 25 to 29, adding that marital violence against women has the highest prevalence rate. The study revealed that 54.4 % of fiancees and 52.5 % of married women have been victims of violence in Morocco.
Violence against women in public places is also common in Morocco with 12.4 % of Moroccan women aged 18 to 64 having suffered at least one case of violence. The study showed that the number of women victims differ between urban and rural areas. Hakkaoui said that women in rural areas are more vulnerable to violence outside the home, with 19.6 % of women having suffered incidents of violence compared to 16 % in urban areas.
E-violence is also increasing in Morocco. 13.4 % of women said they were subject to abuse online and are more vulnerable to this type of abuse.
Harassment accounts for 7.2 % of cyber-violence incidents.
The data, quoted by Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), shows that a total of 54.4% of women experienced at least one form of violence. One-third of those surveyed had experienced abuse in more than one category.
Silence increases violence
During her presentation, Hakkaoui advised Moroccan women to break their silence and to file complaints against perpetrators.
“Silence is one of the factors that aggravate the tragedy of abused women, noting that the proportion of women who have spoken to a person or at an institution is 28.2%.”
The official said that the percentage of victims of abuse or violence who filed a complaint against abusers is only 6.6 %.
Hakkaoui explained that the statistics from this new survey will help to categorize types of violence against women which will help implementation of the newly adopted law 103.13.
The new law on gender-based discrimination was instituted on September 12 and comes after female activists pressure the government to combat violence and public harassments against women.
The law provides women with the right to file complaints of sexual harassment and ensure severe punishments for instigators of harassment and abuse.
The law also provides support for female victims of cyber crimes. However, Moroccan activists have found several worrying loopholes in the legislation.
In a previous interview with Morocco World News, Stephanie Willman Bordat, an international human rights lawyer, explained that the struggle to stop the abuse of women must continue despite the institution of law 103.13. Asked if she is positive about the law, the human rights activist said that “the law is not made to be implemented,” but to amend the current law.
Bordat told Morocco World News today that the new law will now criminalize public harassment.
“What the law basically did is create a couple of new crimes or it increased the prison time for the crimes that already existed,” said Bordat.
However, she went to decry the lack of systems put in place to implement the changes. “The problem is that for those to be implemented, the law has to include items related to the reporting and investigation and prosecution. In other words, to be implemented, the law has to put into place the implementing mechanisms.
It remains to be seen whether the necessary mechanisms will be implemented to finally protect victims of abuse.