Moroccan video sparks debate on harassment
Many Moroccan women say walking alone in the street has become uncomfortable.
Rabat - The video, lasting just 10 seconds, shows a clearly panicking woman in jeans and a T-shirt being chased by a large group of young men.
Published: Fri 11 Aug 2017, 10:30 PM
Last updated: Sat 12 Aug 2017, 12:34 AM
A video showing a group of men hounding a young woman walking alone in a Moroccan street has been shared widely on social media, sparking a heated debate in the North African country.
The video, lasting just 10 seconds, shows a clearly panicking woman in jeans and a T-shirt being chased by a large group of young men.
The mob tries to surround her on a well-known avenue in the northern town of Tangiers.
The video triggered contrasting reactions on social media. Some condemned the young men, but others blamed the woman for wearing "indecent" clothes and suggested she was promiscuous. "She can strip off if she wants, but not in our conservative town," wrote one. Another wrote that the woman "got what she deserved". Moroccan media and human rights activists condemned the harassment.
"I am as scandalised by this violent and collective aggression as by the reactions blaming the victim for her supposedly provocative dress, although she wore only simple jeans and a T-shirt," Nouzha Skalli, a gender rights activist and former women's minister, said.
Mustapha Ramid, minister of state for human rights, said Moroccan law "condemns harassment of women at work, but not in public spaces".
Media outlets said the incident reflected a wider problem in society. "The group chase of a young Moroccan woman brings to the forefront the issue of sexual harassment", said Hespress.ma, the kingdom's most popular news website.
Another popular site, Ladepeche.ma, suggested harassment had become "a national sport".
Official figures show that nearly two out of three Moroccan women are victims of violence. That violence is most visible in public places.
Many women say walking alone in the street has become uncomfortable. Many have been subjected to derogatory remarks, insults and sexual assault. "It's a real crisis of values in our society," said Khadija Ryadi, former president of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) and 2013 winner of a United Nations award for human rights work. - AFP