3 Tunisian women raped each day claims group
A Women's rights NGO in Tunisia has said that almost three women are raped each day in the north African country, as activists call for stronger legal punishments for rapists.
Tunisian Association of Democratic Women [ATFD] recently released the results of a study that 1,050 women and girls are raped each year in Tunisia, or around 2.8 a day, according to al-Araby al-Jadeed's Arabic service.
"The law must be amended in favour of women such as the clause that lets rapists marry their victims," head of Amnesty International Tunisia, Lotfi Azzouz, told an al-Araby al-Jadeed correspondent.
Tunisian criminal law allows men accused statutory rape with minors to avoid prosecution if victims agree to marry them.
"Better care must be taken of the victims of sexual violence," Azzouz added.
The Ministry of Health has recently set up a unit for victims of sexual violence in Tunis' Charles-Nicolle hospital.
A government survey conducted in 2010 revealed that 47 percent of women had experienced some form of violence and 15.7 had been raped or had been victims of sexual violence.
Last year, two policeman who were convicted of raping a woman in a police car had their sentences more than doubled in a high-profile court case.
Their sentences were extended to 15 years after an appeal by the victim, known as Meriem Ben Mohamed.
Ben Mohamed was attacked in 2012 after officers stopped her in a car with her boyfriend in a suburb of the capital, Tunis. She was 27 at the time.
The accused policemen denied the charges, saying they found the couple in an "immoral situation".
Officials originally tried to prosecute the couple for indecency, triggering angry protests and a campaign in support of the victim.
It prompted Tunisia's president at the time Moncef Marzouki to offer Meriem a state apology.