In a legal precedent, an appeal court in Jordan recently allowed a 19-year-old woman to evade sentence for raping a minor. The woman had sex with a boy who has yet to turn 18, and Jordanian papers reported that legally, she is guilty of raping him.
In a bold step, the court ordered to ease her sentence, as they often do with male rapists; she will marry the boy, thus avoiding punishment.
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The matter began when the woman and the minor, who were having an affair, ran away from their homes in Amman to escape their families. They eventually handed themselves in to officials, asking to get married – a request their families outwardly rejected.
The minor, it was reported, admitted to having sex with the woman before they escaped Amman, and a court therefore charged and convicted the woman with rape.
An article in the Jordanian penalty law states that if the rapist agrees to marry his victim, the charges will be dropped. Human rights activists have long been campaigning against the article, which Jordanian women rights activists say hurts mainly women, since the convicted party is usually male, which sentences the woman twice – to rape, then marrying her rapist.
In a survey recently conducted in Jordan, 55% expressed their support in the article.
The fact the law now applies to women is new in Jordan. According to reports, the court is facing three more cases of adult women – over 18 years of age – who were convicted of rape, and who will seemingly be able to evade the maximum sentence of three years in prison by marrying their victims.
In conservative Jordan, some might think that applying the article to women as well as men is a motion of modernization. But to the masses of rape victims – of both sexes – who suffer under its existence, this certainly does not bear any comfort.
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