On Sunday night, a video showing the violent gang rape of a mentally-challenged girl on a bus in Morocco began circulating online. By Monday, the video had spread like wildfire. The video shows several young Moroccan men forcefully stripping the girl naked before sexually assaulting her. Shockingly, fellow bus riders watch and even cheer on the barbaric rapists.
“In the video, the young girl’s helpless cries pierce through the cruel laughter of her assailants. Desperately trying to free herself from the merciless grasps of her attackers, the girl is pulled left and right, her shirt and pants pushed down to denude her flesh,” reports Morocco World News, adding:
Like a wolf pack, her attackers tore into her body under the penetrating gaze of a phone camera carried by one of the monsters, making sure to document their heinous crime.
The girl screams again and again, desperate for a helping hand, but only finding the vicious ones that brutally violate her body. Her aggressors, groping her chest, try to push a rag in her mouth to silence her cries.
By the end of the video, a man is heard telling the teenagers to “get away from her,” without appearing in the video or trying to physically intervene to stop the aggression.
Throughout the whole ordeal, the bus continues to roll, the driver impassive to what’s happening behind his seat.
In an interview with Morocco World News, Fouzia Assouli, head of the Moroccan Federation of the Democratic League of Women’s Rights, said that the video depicts a level of cruelty that she has never come across before.
“This is unbelievable! It looks like we’re living in the jungle now, because this is not sexual harassment, this is gang rape in a public space in front of everyone!” she said, exasperated.
Assouli went on to condemn what she sees as an incompetent state authority that fails to protect its women. “What does it mean to have a State exactly? Isn’t the government supposed to assure the security of its citizens?!,” she asked rhetorically. “What does it mean to have people witnessing such a crime without moving a finger?"
While the indifference of the crowd shown in the video has sent shockwaves down the spine of Moroccan civil society, police managed to track down the rapists shortly after the incident.
“Six teenage suspects were arrested in Morocco on Monday after video footage of young men reportedly sexually molesting a woman on a bus caused widespread outrage on social networks,” confirms Al Arabiya News.
Nonetheless, the incident raises questions about the role culture and religion have played in promoting a patriarchal society that tolerates such horrific abuse of women. In fact, it’s exactly these sorts of incidents that anti-immigration hawks in Europe and the United States cite as justification for limiting the flow of young male refugees from predominately Muslim countries.