Target: Teodoro Andrade Waty, Head of the National Assembly’s Committee on Human Rights
Goal: Do not allow rapists to circumvent justice by marrying their victims
It sounds almost like it could be a plot twist from a satirical dystopian novel: rapists can avoid prosecution by marrying their victims. For the women of Mozambique, however, this “plot twist” is all too real–the National Assembly is set to vote soon on a law that would allow just that. Sign the petition and implore the National Assembly to support sexual assault survivors–not their rapists.
The revised addition to the penal code states that a rapist can avoid prosecution for his crime by marrying his victim–even if she is a child. The rapist would still be brought to court, but the judgment and sentencing would be suspended. If the marriage lasts five years, “the sentence would lapse,” AllAfrica reports.
The ramifications of such a law are horrific. Instead of freeing and protecting rape survivors from their attackers, the law would essentially serve them up on a silver platter. The law does not punish proven rapists, deter potential rapists, or protect survivors and other women; it actually rewards rape and punishes the victim–as if she has not suffered enough already.
Article 223 of the Penal Code does not represent justice. It is an example of some of the gravest injustice that could possibly be visited upon a survivor of sexual assault. Stand with survivors, not rapists. Sign the petition and demand that Mozambique’s National Assembly reject the proposed changes to the Penal Code.
Rape is one of the most horrific crimes one human being can inflict upon another, and recovering from the physical and psychological trauma of rape is a process that can take a survivor years, if not a lifetime, to complete. Which is why it is completely absurd, unfair, and cruel to even entertain the idea that a rape case could be resolved by a marriage between the rapist and his victim.
In allowing rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their victims, Article 223 of the Penal Code would constitute one of the most backward and nonsensical pieces of legislation of the twenty-first century. The Penal Code is essentially an endorsement of rape; it disregards the physical safety and psychological well-being of the innocent victim and grants the rapist exactly what he wants: someone to control, intimidate, assault, and destroy.
The law certainly does not serve justice. Neither does it serve as a deterrent for rape; it provides rapists with a literal “get out of jail free” card in the form of a marriage license. How can anyone even entertain the idea of such a law? What purpose does it serve? Why was it even proposed?
The passage of Article 223 would constitute a severe blow against human rights in Mozambique. I implore you to ensure that it does not pass.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons