24 Agosto 2017 07:28
Despite the woman's cries, neither the driver nor her fellow passengers did anything to help her
As if harassing her wasn’t enough, they also wanted to capture it all on film. Not only are the images shocking, but they’ve also gone viral. The incident occurred on Friday afternoon on a public bus in Casablanca (Morocco). Four youths can be seen tearing off a young woman’s clothes and groping her, laughing all the while. They filmed the whole scene and later posted it on social networks.
The young woman desperately cried out for help, but the bus drove on. Neither the driver nor the passengers travelling on board made the slightest attempt to come to her aid. In the end, when the victim’s cries for help became louder and louder, her aggressors gave up and let her go.
At first, the association ’Don’t touch my child’ was the only group to speak out and show its outrage at the incident. The bus line, which has a fleet of up to 800 vehicles, refused to blame the driver declaring that ‘assaults take place on a daily basis and the constant noise made it difficult to hear her cries.’
The authorities took over three days to condemn the assault and have stated that at least two of the four youths that abused the woman are being held in police custody. One of Morocco’s most pressing issues today are acts of aggression in public spaces. Currently, only abuse and harassment in the workplace is punishable by law, but not when it takes place in the public sphere.
There is currently a draft bill to penalise assaults in public spaces, but it has been shelved for over a year awaiting approval. Action has been taken, however, by a large number of citizens, who have organised a mass sit-in to show their solidarity with the victim.
According to a report by the Independent, this is the second video showing a woman being assaulted in the past month. The first took place in Tangier when two men filmed themselves harassing and following a young woman through the streets. Not uncommonly, the reactions of some internauts has been to blame the victim, making reference to how she was dressed. ‘She got what she deserved’, read some of the video’s comments.
Some media have echoed the problem posed by the impunity of sexual assault in Morocco, which is even branded by some as a ‘national sport’. The only study to investigate the issue was undertaken by the High Commission for Planning in 2009, and is therefore somewhat obsolete. The figures that emerged then, however, were, at best, alarming.
The survey revealed that two out of every three Moroccan women had been victims of violence in Morocco. 8,300 women were interviewed for the study, 63% of whom said they had suffered some kind of psychological, sexual, physical or economic violence.