Morocco shock at brutal rape ordeal of 17-year-old Khadija

Moroccans are expressing shock on social media at the details given by a 17-year-old of her rape ordeal.

In a TV interview last week, the young woman, being named as Khadija, said she was abducted by a gang in June, held for two months, sexually assaulted and tortured.

She also showed scars, cigarette burns and tattoos on her body, which she said were given to her by her captors.

Many women in Morocco are the victims of violence, human rights groups say.

More than 20% of Moroccan women have been sexually abused at least once in their lives, Morocco’s National Human Rights Council reported in 2015.

In response to the TV interview, which has been posted on YouTube, thousands have signed an online petition calling for help for Khadija.

People are also using the hashtag #JusticePourKhadija to describe their disgust and horror and calling on the authorities to take action.

“I want justice for what they did to me,” she told Moroccan station Chouf TV, the Huffington Post reports.

“I tried to escape several times, but I was caught and beaten. They tortured me, they did not give me food or drink, and they did not even allow me to take a shower.”

Speaking with her head covered to disguise her identity, Khadija rolled up her sleeves to show multiple tattoos, including a swastika, that her captors had given her.

At least three suspects have been arrested in connection with the allegations, AFP news agency reports.

In 2014, Morocco’s parliament amended an article of the penal code that allowed rapists of underage girls to avoid prosecution by marrying their victims.

This followed intensive lobbying by activists for better protection of young rape victims.

But rights groups say that more must be done to protect women.