Mauritania fact of the day

Women in Mauritania who press charges for sexual assault face the risk
of jail time because of poorly defined laws and stigma that criminalise
victims rather than offenders, according to a local UN-funded

Here is the storyThe twittering of RachelStrohm is actually the best "Africa blog" I've seen, ever.  (I very much like Chris Blattman but I would describe his blogging as broader than that.)  Her blog blog is here.  Her Google profile is here.


this presumes an effective and efficient recourse to law, which, frankly, is a bizarre presumption in Mauritania. MAU still has slavery, child-labor and soldiers, plural marriage etc. I've just returned from visiting a peer stationed there in the Peace Corp, and the closest I found to approximate law was tribal normative behaviours and AK47's

I should clarify: Qu'ran, sura 4, verses 15-16 explain specifically that a woman's testimony is worthless in cases of a sexual nature, even if she is the victim. There must be 4 male witnesses. If a woman makes an accusation of rape, etc. without these witnesses, then under sharia law she has committed the crime. Local officials often try to carry out sentences for such crimes. While I applaud Tyler for pointing out this injustice, Mauritania is not unique in this regard; this happens regularly in any number of sharia-compliant areas.

Why is this surprising considering women's testimonies are considered less than men's under Sharia? These women bring the accusations and they risk stoning or lashing for adultery .
For instance, the Iranian woman who lost both eyes in an acid attack by a rejected suitor-- when she demanded the same punishment for him, he was ordered to have acid in one eye only. And that too a drop of acid! So much for religious laws.

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