Dubai: A young Moroccan woman was sexually assaulted in Tangiers in broad daylight by a passer-by and filmed by another, local media reported.
The woman was walking the streets of Tangiers when she was followed by two young men, with one filming the scene while the second approached the woman from behind. One of the harassers then lifted the woman’s skirt, assaulted her and ran away while laughing.
A video of the incident has gone viral on social media, provoking outrage and indignation across Morocco, with many public personalities sharing the footage and asking authorities for urgent action.
A group of Instagram pages dedicated to the fight against sexual harassment have collectively called on their followers to help identify the perpetrator, stating that “we have irrefutable evidence ... (the video) provided by the aggressor himself.”
According to the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN), the main suspect in the case, a 17-year-old minor, was arrested in the Boukhalef district in Tangiers, as part of the investigation launched by the judicial police. Three more minors suspected of being involved in the documentation and publication of the harassment video were also arrested.
Netizens were outraged by the footage, with a user sarcastically calling it “a new upgrade to sexual harassment in Morocco, as now you run the risk of harassment despite being accompanied by a man.”
In Morocco, where nearly two out of three women are victims of sexual harassment in public places, groping of women and girls on public transport is common.
Following a decade of debate and controversy, Law 103-13 criminalising street sexual harassment finally came into force on September 12, 2018.
Measures to combat harassment in public places include penalties ranging from one to three years’ imprisonment or a fine of 2000 to 10,000 Moroccan dirhams DH817 to Dh4,086).
These measures apply not only to street harassment, but also to sexual comments made or sent by text, voice mail or even through photos.
But insufficient implementation of these measures has led to outrage among women’s rights activists, with many wondering whether authorities - and society at large - even take the continued plight of Moroccan women seriously.