Victims’ Rights and the Effectiveness of Rape Marriage Laws in Jordan and a Changing Middle East

Posted: 27 Apr 2014

Date Written: April 25, 2014


This article looks at rape victim’s rights in Jordan. I will focus on rape marriage laws, and how it does not fulfill the goal of protecting girls and removing shame, which was the intent behind most rape-marriage laws.

While Jordan’s rape marriage law was created to protect families and victims from dishonor and further punishment, Article 308 does not accomplish this goal. The failures of the rape marriage law is found in three consequences: 1) it fails to deter perpetrators; 2) ultimately, does not erase the shame of either the victims or the family; and 3) puts Jordan in violation of international law. Jordan’s government could protect rape victims, potential victim, and their families from the violent crime and shame by amending its rape laws to address rape victim rights. Such amendments would include raising awareness of rape victim issues, creating provisions to protect and provide support for rape victims, and repealing Article 308. Changing the rape law and repealing the rape-marriage law so that perpetrators would have to meet the full consequence of their crimes would give justice for victims. A change in the rape law in Jordan would eliminate the idea that violence against women is okay, and empower women by affirming that they are equal under the law. Such a change would also give the opportunity to continue on its current path towards reform insuring equality amongst the population.

“Article 292: Whoever has sexual intercourse with a woman, other than his wife, without her consent — whether through coercion, threat, deception, or fraud — is punished with hard labor for no less than 15 years. Any person who rapes a girl under 15-years-old is punished by death, and with hard labor for 20 years if the victim is between the ages of 15 and 18. Article 308: If a valid contract of marriage is made between the perpetrator of any of the offenses mentioned in this section, and the victim, the prosecution is suspended. If judgment was already passed, the implementation of the punishment upon the sentenced person is suspended.” Jordanian Penal Code

Keywords: rape, rape marriage, rape marriage law, Jordan, victims rights

Suggested Citation

Simila-Dickinson, Naomi, Victims’ Rights and the Effectiveness of Rape Marriage Laws in Jordan and a Changing Middle East (April 25, 2014). Available at SSRN:

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