Inside the Middle East
December 22, 2010
Posted: 1300 GMT

Nouakchott, Mauritania (CNN) - Mahjouba was raped in March on the nighttime streets of Mauritania's capital, but she will not bring charges against the man she says did it since she may be the one who ends up in prison. The 25-year-old says the legal advice she received was to not go to court, leaving her to suffer in silence.

There is no law in Mauritania that defines rape.

According to a local U.N.-funded group working with the victims, the law criminalizes the women instead of their rapists - and society ostracizes the women.

Mahjouba, who asked not to use her real name, said: "I am sure that if I raise my voice I'm going to be criminalized by my society and I will pay the price harshly ... and as a result I may stay single for the rest of my life."

She added: "I consulted a lawyer secretly, and he advised me sincerely not to seek justice because that would throw me in jail. I know what happened to other girls who decided to go to court and face the community. Their lives were destroyed completely forever. So I already know what would happen to me if I had to follow that path.

"This Islamic republic has no place for rape victims like me." Read more...

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emunadate   December 22nd, 2010 5:14 pm ET

take a look at Islam...

Survivor101   December 23rd, 2010 1:22 am ET

The legal advice that was given to me was to publish. I was too young at the time and there were no resources that would have been able to help me. I asked an attorney many years later and he told me that there isn't much I could do. He said to publish. The problem with that is that you have to figure out how to do that without harming your own self...which is the slippery slope that rape victims seem to always be on. Take care of yourself and try to learn everything that you can about post traumatic stress and childhood sexual abuse. PTSD seems more like an umbrella over lots of things, but childhood sexual abuse deals more with the huge power differentials and lack of resources...and how kids think. They don't have power to change much...all they have is their mind...and they try to make sense out of things that don't make any sense. It's brutal, really. evil. but its what kids by the time they are adults...they have to work through all of that.

Survivor101   December 23rd, 2010 1:27 am ET

war rape is different. there are some books on that. you might write the next one...when you understand it, you might be able to help other people. (not that it's our goal in life to be involved in this stuff, but it does help if you can find people that have been through it and can unlock a lot of the barriers victims go through – it can bring trauma also, so you still have to take care of yourself).

Survivor101   December 23rd, 2010 1:33 am ET

it messes up your relationships with men in general. try to learn more about patriarchy. Read In A Different Voice, The Birth of Pleasure, The Deepening Darkness, Transforming a Rape Culture, etc. There are some on war rape, but I don't remember the names of them. Fraternity Gang Rape talks about men vicariously having s e x with each other through a third doesn't have anything to do with the person that was's more about their relationship to each other. Sick and perverted, but happens nonetheless...and we have to deal with it.

kimsland   December 29th, 2010 8:48 am ET

North Africa is probably not the best place to allow your daughters to visit.

"There is no law in Mauritania that defines rape."
Islamic biblical old fashioned laws are VERY strange. Rape is just ONE issue. I'd say marriage and some stupid laws on ownership of breast milk are way worse.

Islamic traditions are literally like a live freak show. There's no other way to say this, they are barbaric, and do not belong in our world.

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