'Marry your rapist' laws still practised in 20 countries to prevent justice: UN

'Marry your rapist' laws still practised in 20 countries to prevent justice: UN

'Marry your rapist' laws shift the burden of guilt on to the victim

An annual UN report has said that 20 countries still allow rapists to marry their victims in a bid to avoid criminal prosecution.

According to the annual report on the state of world population, Russia, Thailand and Venezuela are part of nations that allow rapists to escape publishment if they agree on marrying the women or girls they have assaulted.

"The denial of rights cannot be shielded in law. 'Marry your rapist' laws shift the burden of guilt on to the victim and try to sanitise a situation which is criminal," Dr Natalia Kanem, executive director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) which released the report on Wednesday, was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Dima Dabbous, director of Equality Now's Middle East and Africa region, whose research is mentioned in the UN report said such rules reflected a culture "that does not think women should have bodily autonomy and that they are the property of the family. It's a tribal and antiquated approach to sexuality and honour mixed together".

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She also added that it's "very difficult" to change these laws, but not "impossible".

Dabbous gave the example of Morocco where a woman killed herself when she was asked to marry her rapist, something that forced the country to repeal the law.

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