Women activists protest to repeal a provision that allows a rapist to escape punishment if he marries his victim. (AP/Reem Saad)

Jordan abolishes 'marry the rapist' loophole

Jordan's cabinet has repealed a highly contentious clause that allowed rapists to escape persecution


Alessandra Maldonado
August 1, 2017 6:20PM (UTC)

The Jordanian Parliament has voted to abolish a controversial law allowing rapists to evade punishment if they marry their victims, a decision that has bolstered the rights of women in a country that seems to remain wholly discriminatory against women.

Khaled Ramadan, a parliamentarian who pushed to abolish the law, told Al Jazeera "This is a historic day in Jordan's history."

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"After 57 years of this law, this is an important step towards societal reform and for equality. Today we are sending a message to every rapist that 'your crime will not be overlooked and we will not let you get away with it,'" he said.

Article 308 — which is considered to be a "rape loophole" — pardons rape perpetrators for at least three years, if they marry their victims. The law was put in place as a means of defending a woman's "honor," but has been widely regarded as an infringement on their autonomy. In April, Jordan's cabinet proposed the abolishment of the law which later received support from King Abdullah — ushering in the proposal's ratification on Tuesday.

"We are celebrating today. This is a historic moment not only for Jordan, but for the entire region. This achievement is a result of the concerted effort of the civil society, women's rights and human rights organisations in Jordan," said Salma Nims, secretary-general of the Jordanian National Commission for Women.

Jordan is one of nine Arab States that allow the crimes of rapists to be pardoned if they marry their victims — all of which have faced harsh backlash from activists and protestors. In December, the Lebanese Parliament took the necessary steps to abolish its own version of the law following a review of its terms, but the proposal is still making its way through the country's legislative process.


Alessandra Maldonado

Alessandra Maldonado is an editorial intern at Salon. You can find her on Twitter at @alessamberr

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Human Rights Jordan Lebanon Marital Rape Middle East Partner Video Rape Rape Law Women Women's Rights

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