Egyptian women under patriarchal mentality-7

Marriage, divorce, and rape cases

News Center - There are many manifestations of violence against women and girls in Egypt. We had mentioned in the previous part of this file several forms: circumcision, harassment, and virginity statements, there are a lot of speaking about inhumane practices towards women in Egypt

In this and the next part, we will complete our research on violations, which include forced and child marriage, divorce, rape, marital infidelity, and incapacitating laws in front of all of this.

Forced and child marriage

Forcing a girl to marry, whether she is a minor or not, is one of the most prominent issues of violence against girls in conservative and Middle Eastern societies, including the Egyptian girls, whom society considers incomplete women if they do not marry, without any care of their social or financial independence.

Rural and Al-seed Egypt recorded the highest rates of child marriage. The girls obtained a paper from the sheik or "authorized" similar in content to informal "customary" marriage and according to these papers the girls were deprived of their rights, although it is not recognized by the government.

Feminist organizations have pointed out that there are thousands of cases of child marriage annually, and one of the statistics says  100,000 cases take place in a year, while other statistics indicate more than that. The Sharia Authorized Fund revealed about 124,000 cases of child marriage in 2017.

In 2017, underage mothers filed proofs of marriage, amounting to about 16,000 cases, including 14,000 cases to prove the proportions of children born and abandoned by their parents, thereby depriving these children of their civil rights.

In addition, many girls fall due to the greed of their families, the victim of a fraudulent marriage in which the contract is not valid, that sheik takes money from the bridegroom to complete unreal marriage and escape to abroad of Egypt, so it is a rape crime. 

The 2014 health survey revealed that underage girls aged 15-19 accounted for 14.4% of the total number of married girls in Egypt, most of them in rural areas.

 A study conducted in 2015 by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics found that 11% of girls were forced to marry and the age of them was under 18, and a study conducted in 2017 by the same center recorded that 4,1% of girls who were forced to marry and their ages were between 18 and 19.

In 2018, the statistic released by the Central Agency, the percentage of child marriage decreased to 12.3%, while the percentage of girls who were forced to marry at the ages of 18-19 was 4.1%, and the percentage of women who were forced to marry between the age 40-44 reached 10.1%, and the percentage of women who were forced to marry between the age 60-64 were reached to 22.2%.

The Egyptian law stipulates that the marriage contract is valid for both spouses to reach the legal age limit of 18 years old, and the law 64 of 2010 stipulates that child or early marriage is considered a form of human trafficking, and the punishment of perpetrators reach to life imprisonment, in addition to that a fine of one hundred thousand Egyptian pounds on the direct officials of this contract. The punishment appears to be a deterrent, but the figures issued by the responsible institutions confirm that there is no real implementation of what is stated in it.

The law also provides for the protection of the child from exploitation, Article 116 of the Child Law issued in 2008, doubles the penalty is demanded if the crime occurs on a child.

The law punishes those who change the age of the girls if they are minors and the families intend to marry them, and the first paragraph of Article 227 stipulates that “every person who appears before the court to prove the adulating of both spouses according to the law of the limited age to complete contract of the marry and know it isn’t correct, he shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or by a fine not exceeding three hundred pounds".

The poverty and ignorance led to destroy the life of the girls when they married at an early age, the poor families consider their girls a big problem and they must be married especially if they don’t complete their education.

The customs and traditions linked with ignorance are the most important reason led to marry the minor girls because their grandmothers and mothers married at an early age.

Religious institutions discuss the issue of child marriages; some of them see it as a duty but some don’t accept that.

With the increase of pressure to stop child marriage, in June 2019, Al-Azhar announced Fatwa against child marriages through an awareness campaign against circumcision.

Civil marriage

 Civil marriage is defined as the dispensation of all religious manifestations and rituals, and it is not subject to the law of the forbidden and the lawful, but guarantees freedom of choice of partners and guarantees rights for women and children.

Egyptian constitutions prohibit this type of "civil" marriage, which is rejected by the majority of society, and supported by the laws. Article 12 of the Personal Status Law issued in 1959 stipulates that marriage is considered valid if it is in accordance with the Sharia. Marriage is governed by Sharia according to each religion, so Muslim men can marry a Christian or Judaism woman, Christians also consider that those who marry without religion are outside of religion and against their thoughts.

The distinction is clear in the current personal status law, Article 17 states that "it is allowed for a Muslim man to marry a Christian or Judaism woman, and a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man"

In the seventies of the last century, civil marriage, between two people with different religions was easier compared to the present time.

There is no special law to criminalize homosexuality, but Egyptian law prohibits and criminalizes any form of homosexuality according to the public etiquette Law as a flagrant act incites immorality and offends modesty, Egyptian society largely rejects the idea of the existence of these people." 

In 2013, Research Center Bio said that 95% of society rejected homosexuality completely, while only 3% of it supported it. 

Even marriage and divorce between a man and a woman face many difficulties with the Copts of Egypt, there are many movements that demand from Coptic societies to urge the government to issue a law for their own civil marriage to get rid of the power of the church, it is not possible for a woman, whatever she faces  violence or s injustice, to ask for a divorce, the church connects divorce for two reasons, adultery or the change of religion, otherwise, it is not possible to get a divorce in any way


Women suffer from different sects and affiliations, Muslim women face arbitrary divorce, while Christian women cannot end their marriage.

There is a real crisis in Egypt, which is divorce, the country records high rates, in an official statistic published in 2019 by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, divorce rates increased compared to previous years, an increase of 6.7%, and the divorce rates are high in cities, the rural girls cannot be able to make the decision to separate, because it is a matter of honor in the countryside, and leaving social problems between the two families or two clans as if they have a cause of revenge.

The Prime Minister Information Center confirmed that every two and a half minutes there is a case of divorce in the country, the number of divorced women reached more than 5.6 million women, and 250 thousand cases of divorce in the country were filed by women under 18 years old.

Al-Azhar acknowledged that the mistreatment of a man destroyed the family and reached a bad end. Al-Azhar’s approval was through the title of the campaign that he launched in 2018 “asherohena belmaarouf”, and he launched a campaign before that titled “family unification” to remove the specter of family disintegration and its results on children and women who are the first victims and accused of divorce and loser that marriage.

Rape incest

There are scary numbers in Egypt about rape cases, but the statistics are not accurate. Because a girl, who is subjected to rape, exposes to death by the name of honor, the girl or family prefers to conceal the incident.

During the revolution that took place in January 2011, the girls and women participating in the protests were subjected to harassment and often faced gang-raping.

Many girls and women, who have been harassed and raped during the events in the country since 2011, have written on several social media accounts about what happened to them. While the girls were subjected to rape in the street in front of hundreds and harassers and rapists and no one could help the girls. Where were the police and security officers? Women went out and joined the revolutionaries to demand a better life for all the Egyptian people.

In 2014, following the events in Egypt after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s coup against Muhammad Morsi’s rule, 54 cases of rape were recorded in detention centers, some of them were pregnant and aborted, while the rest were forced to retain fetuses because of their bodies could not bear the operation.

The authorities denied that the detainees were raped despite the victims' disclosure of the violations committed against them. In the same year (2014), the Global Coalition for Egyptians Abroad submitted a memorandum to the High Commissioner for Human Rights, calling for a transparent investigation of the violations against women detainees, after Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s coup against Mohamed Morsi’s rule.

Article 17 of the Penal Code is a real loophole,  it says " if the rapist married to the victim the punishment shall be abolished", and this violation is still widespread.

The law criminalizes rape through articles 267 and 290, that the article 267  stipulates a life sentence for the usurper that reaches the death penalty if the girl is a minor, or if one of her relatives or those who have authority over her, and in the event of mass rape.

And article 290 stipulates the life imprisonment of a rapist in the event that he is accompanied by a crime of kidnapping, fraud, or coercion, but if the victim dies, the death penalty shall apply.

Marital rape is not considered a crime, as Article 60 stipulates "The provisions of the Penal Code do not apply to every act committed with intent in accordance with the right established under the Sharia".

Incest adultery is the worst form of rape, the social media are filled with news of incest in Egypt, there are no numbers or statistics and it cannot be considered a phenomenon, the raped girls are the most prevalent, the studies on it have confirmed that men are more committed to it, especially fathers.

In Egypt, 30% of families live in one room, children grow up in an unhealthy environment, and the girls suffer from its repercussions.

Sexual suppression and exposure to stimuli as a result of the wrong use of technology and films aiming, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, and other reasons for the absence of moral deterrence leads to the occurrence of crimes, also a psychological factor that increases the possibility of abuse, such as a tendency to love children.

Studies indicate that 37 % of girls who are involved in prostitution were exposed to rape by one of their family members.

Marital Infidelity

In Egypt, there is a great prevalence of adultery and infidelity, but there are no statistics on that, in general, 53,000 cases of infidelity were monitored after 2011.

There are many contradictions between the penal laws with each other, society, human rights, and even religion.

As for the punishment, it starts with reduced penalties for the husband who kills his wife due to his psychological condition at the time and does not end when the wife is punished with severe imprisonment.

Article 276 of the Penal Code distinguishes between a man and a woman and stipulates that two years in prison for a woman, while a man is released from prison after only 6 months in prison.

Tomorrow: Male laws control the life and freedom of Egyptian women