475: In solidarity with the women of morocco

At 16, Amina committed suicide after a Moroccan judge sentenced her to marry her rapist. This film is about who and what let it happen.

WHY WE WANT TO MAKE THIS FILM

In March of 2011, a 16 year old girl named Amina Filali committed suicide by swallowing rat poison. A year earlier, Amina was raped and forced to marry her rapist by a Moroccan judge who cited Article 475 of the Moroccan Penal code. This law is wrongly used to force young girls to marry their rapists, thus saving the “honor of the family”. And while it does not touch on the case of rape in itself, this law is usually the one to be applied by the judges, for it is the only one that cancels all charges provided the plaintiff is married to the defendant.

Even after international and national public outcry, online and through street protests, the law kept on being misused to acquit rapists from all charges, as a few weeks later, another 14-year old girl named Safae, was sentenced, and without her parents being present in court, to marry her rapist. Safae is currently pregnant and has attempted to commit suicide several times according to her parents.

Official figures have demonstrated that 41,000 marriages in Morocco involve female minors, and this figure is up 25% since the previous year, showing a general regression in women’s rights and the application of women-related laws.

Despite all of this, the law is not entirely to blame. Many forced marriages are pushed upon young couples outside of the legal framework, even when rape is not involved. Article 475 of the penal code therefore becomes a legal extension or a governmental endorsement of social and cultural pressures which women face in their daily lives. 475 is a symbol for discrimination against Moroccan women.

(From the text that presented 475 for crowdfunding)

 

SYNOPSIS

Amina Filali is a 16-year old Moroccan girl who committed suicide after being forced to marry her alleged rapist. Her tragical death dominated Moroccan and international media in March 2012.

Amina had accused a young man in her village of rape, but because authorities failed to properly investigate her accusations, she was married to her rapist following a citation from article 475 of the Moroccan penal code. This article dismisses a rapist of his charges as long as he marries his victim. A year after her marriage, Amina swallowed rat poison, walked into the village market, and died.

Through this horrifying affair, the film explores the legal, political, religious and social issues that plague Moroccan women– chipping away at the facade of equality that disguises a deep-seated patriarchal system.

Underscoring the pervasiveness of this problem, the team filming 475 also discovers that Filali’s rape and marriage was only one of four similar incidents that had happened in her small village’s recent memory. They also discover that the account of Filali’s experience was not as simple as it had been portrayed. While the film highlights the difficulty in determining guilt, it also adeptly showcases the endemic nature of the problem of sexual violence in Morocco.

Despite all of this, the law is not entirely to blame. Many forced marriages are pushed upon young couples outside of the legal framework, even when rape is not involved. Article 475 of the penal code therefore becomes a legal extension or a governmental endorsement of social and cultural pressures which women face in their daily lives. 475 is a symbol for discrimination against Moroccan women.

475

 

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