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Drafting a New Story: Women's Rights in the Middle East

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Originally Published by AFP

January 10, 2011

RABAT (AFP) – Nearly 63 percent of Moroccan women have been victims of violence recently and about a quarter of them have been sexually assaulted at least once in their lives, a government study said Monday.

Out of nine million women aged 18 to 64 years old, nearly six million were subjected to violent acts during the twelve months that preceded the study conducted between June 2009 and January 2010, the paper said.

According to the government survey of 8,300 women, “the most frequent and widespread form of violence was psychological.”

The study defines psychological violence as “an act that consists of dominating or isolating a woman, as well as humiliating her or making her uncomfortable,” and said it was inflicted on more than 48 percent of the women who were polled.

Psychological violence was most frequent among married women and those in the 18-24 age bracket, the study added.

The survey also indicated that 23 percent of women “have been sexually assaulted at one moment or another in their lives,” adding that the number of victims were three times higher in urban areas than in rural regions.

Last year, the government pledged to introduce a bill in parliament “pinpointing all forms of marital violence,” but it has not yet done so.

The proposed legislation would include “preventive measures”, including immediately keeping the abused women away from their assailants, without waiting for the results of police and judicial investigations.



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