In Morocco, just like in many other Arabic countries, where economy is changing rapidly, social and cultural aspects of life also tend to change. This causes alterations in social relations, particularly those between women and men. For hundreds of years Moroccan women existed in “domestic” and private spaces for religious and cultural reasons. However, today, traditional social exclusion of women becomes abandoned. Women start reaching the public sphere, that used to be a male space before. They still face constraints that hinder their mobility and often become victims of sexual assault and harassment.
Women often become victims of psychological and verbal aggression in public areas. For women this is humiliating; for men this is the way to exhibit their domination and power. Males use offensive expressions against the opposite sex, calling them by the names of animals to underline their limited mental capacity or unattractiveness (Rassam, 1980). This typical example of violence in Morocco shows that women are still not welcome in the public areas and that the prejudices accumulated for centuries are not so easy to get rid of.
Sexual violence is represented in all nations and all countries. Though examples of what may be considered sexual aggression vary from one culture to the other, nonconsensual or forced sexual contact is recognized by most nations to be the top exhibition of sexual violence. A person may be forced into sexual contact by violence, threats or physical restraint. Most cultures recognize rape to be highly traumatic for the victim, both physically and psychologically (Jewkes, Sen, & Garcia-Moreno, 2002).
However, every rule has exceptions. In some cultures rape is normalized and excused by culture and media, which often threatens women’s safety and rights. For example, in India rape is widely excused. A long history of female abuse and mistreat in this country has lead them to considering rape as just or normal (L’Arm, Pepitone, & Shanmugam, 1981). Though rape may be justified and accepted in India most culture recognize it as a crime that requires severe punishment.
- Hall, G., Teten, A. L., DeGarmo, D. S., Sue, S., & Stephens, K. A. (2005). Ethnicity, culture, and sexual aggression: Risk and protective factors. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(5), 830–840
- Jewkes, R., Sen, P., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2002). Sexual violence. Geneva Switzerland World Health Organization [WHO] 2002.
- L’Arm, Pepitone, A., & Shanmugam, T. (1981). Attitudes toward Rape A Comparison of the Role of Chastity in India and the United States. Journal Of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 12(3), 284-303.
- Rassam, A. (1980). Women and domestic power in Morocco. International Journal Of Middle East Studies, 12(02), 171-179.