Since she was 14 years old, Hajar has been sexually abused by three different members of her family.
Now Hajar is eight months pregnant. TV presenter Ala Chebbi thinks she ought to marry the father, whoever that might be.
Appearing on Tunisian talk show Andi Mankolek (I’ve Got Something to Tell You), Chebbi chastized Hajar for getting pregnant out of wedlock, and advised her to “marry” her rapist.
“Admit that you are at fault,” he told her.
Hajar appeared on the show with her brother. Her face was pixelated during the broadcast.
The talk show has since been suspended.
Hajar has been kicked out of her family’s home. Chebbi said that marrying her off will “contain the situation.”
The TV presenter has since insisted that his remarks were blown out of proportion. He claims he only suggested marriage because there was “a lack of evidence” of rape.
He added that if the abusers were proven guilty, they should be punished.
Article 227 of Tunisia’s legal code dismisses rape charges if the rapist marries the victim.
Uproar on social media culminated with the creation of a Facebook page titled ‘Marry your rapist‘ to campaign against the law.
“The punishment for rape is imprisonment, not marriage.”
Many Arab countries have been criticized for laws that drop rape charges in case of a rapist-victim marriage.
In July, Lebanese MP Keyrouz proposed cancelling a law that “allows rape charges to be dropped against an offender if he marries his victim.”
In Egypt, marrying the victim of rape allowed the offender to avoid persecution under Article 291 of the penal code. The law was abolished in 1999.