The distressing incident was documented in a video that went viral on Morocco’s social media reigniting a bitter debate about violence against women, especially after the recurrence of sexual harassment and violence cases against women with the latest being registered in Tangier where a hooting mob chased a girl.
Branding banners and chanting slogans venting anger and frustration at the lack of civility and the increasing sexual harassment in the public space, the women taking part in the sit-ins denounced what they deemed as laxism by authorities in protecting women and called for a halt of stereotypes against them.
The disturbing video has become a public opinion issue showing the scale of violence against women. It depicts a 24-year-old victim crying, while a group of teenagers molest her, insult her and tear her clothes off, while neither the passengers nor the bus driver intervened to help as the footage was shot.
The video sent shockwaves across Morocco mobilizing Moroccan NGOs and human rights organizations. In this respect, the protesters called for a quick adoption of the bill against sexual assault and violence against women, which has been lingering in the Parliament since 2013.
Authorities affirm the arrest of six teenagers involved in the attack, all between the ages of 15 and 17.
Public transport company M’Dina Bus, for its part, recognizes that the sexual assault took place in one of its busses, noting that the video was too short to determine whether the bus driver actually failed to do anything.
The incident stirred a heated debate on social media, especially on facebook. While thousands vented their anger and frustration at these shameful incidents, some dissapointing comments rather ascribed the responsibility for the assault to the girl for provoking the teenagers with her loose dress.
The sad reality though is that sexual harassment and abuse of women is rife in Morocco where a national survey found that nearly two-thirds of women had experienced physical, psychological, sexual or economic abuse.