Noura Hussein was sentenced to death for self defence against her husband who raped her. Noura’s case has been followed by the world as it raises concerns over marital rape, self defence and forced child marriage – problems not only faced in Africa but also the rest of the world. The court initially sentenced Noura to death because she was forced to marry at only 15 years of age and when she did not want to consummate the marriage during their honeymoon, her spouse’s family members forcefully held her down so he could have his way.
This case is not only disturbing because she was too young to marry but also because even after marriage a women has the right to say no to sex – it has to be consented from both partners and forcing her with other members of his family is a trauma she has to live with. She attacked him shortly after he tried to rape her the very next day and she instantly stabbed him and soon after was arrested when her very own parents overturned her to the police. Thankfully this took the media and everyone rallied the streets to seek justice for her. Protesters from all around the world didn’t let this case settle and with their efforts as well as the lawyers the court has overthrown her sentence and has ordered a five year jail term with blood money amounting to 337,000 to be paid to her husband’s family.
Amnesty International and several hundred petitioners are asking to amend the laws on marital rape since many countries such as Afghanistan, Bahamas, Pakistan, Yemen, Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Sudan don’t prosecute those who rape their spouse after marriage as it against the law of marriage itself. Petitioners are hoping law makers in Sudan and many countries are hoping that there would be a stance taken into this important crisis and that age for marriage is increased and apart from forced child marriages, marital rape is taken seriously and stricter laws should be made to protect women in a country that reports 350 rapes every year on an average.
The court’s statement doesn’t end the case here, Human rights activists are still pursuing to free Noura from this five year prison sentence and reduce the blood money on her case. #JusticeforNoura, #MorethanNoura are still trending on social media channels to advocate for the reform in laws – similar to those laws that came into consideration and were adjusted after an Ethiopian woman was looking for a rental property and was instead lured to an empty ground and gang raped by seven men. Instead of being given justice or helping they charged her with adultery and prostitution – the Human Rights watch and several other groups petitioned to re-look into the case after which she is also trying to be given justice. Human Right’s Watch said “And that’s not all. Sudan’s security forces have also raped civilians in Darfur, sometimes on a mass scale, and in other conflict zones, crimes which may constitute crimes against humanity, and for which nobody has been brought to justice. The United Nations expert on sexual violence in conflict noted following her recent visit to Sudan that there is a deep-seated culture of denial around rape, because it is prohibited under Islam. “No religion or faith, however, is immune from sexual violence,” she said. Sudanese authorities should take note.”