Aug. 27 (UPI) — Thousands of people have signed a petition to help a girl who was allegedly raped and tattooed in Morocco.
The 17-year-old said she was gang raped and forcibly tattooed by a “dangerous gang” in Ben Melal province after being abducted outside a relative’s home in June.
In the change.org petition, posted by Loutfi Samadi, she alleges further that she was repeatedly raped by 15 men, beaten and deprived of basic food and sanitary needs. More than 17,000 people had signed the petition to give her emotional and financial support to remove tattoos and rebuild her life.
Images tattooed across her arms, leg and neck include swastikas and scars from cigarette burns.
“They held me for about two months, and raped and tortured me,” the girl said. “I will never forgive them. They have destroyed me.”
More than 17,000 people have signed a petition on change.org website calling for financial support to remove the girl, identified as Khadija, with rallying cries to sign the petition on social media, under the hashtag, “We are all Khadija.”
The girl’s father said three suspects were arrested Saturday in connection with her abduction with trial set to start on Sept. 6.
Morocco World News reported that more than 10 men were arrested and some managed to escape.
Khadija said she had tried to escape several times, but was re-captured and tortured before she was finally released by captors.
“They didn’t give me food or drink, and I was not even allowed to take a shower,” she told Morocco World News.
“I want justice to be done and [for them] to pay for what they have done to me,” she told reporters. “For how many women who, for fear of this hchouma [shame], continue to keep quiet?”
Morocco’s reported rapes increased from 800 cases in 2016 to 1,600 cases in 2017, an annual report issued by the King’s attorney general, Mohamed Abdel Nabawi showed.
A law to combat violence against women in Morocco just became effective this month, and earlier this year Morocco adopted a new law against sexual harassment. Feminist activist Bouchra Abdou, a director of a center for association campaigning for women’s rights, said in a statement to Morocco World News that “women’s issues raise the alarm for the future of our daughters and women.”