The United States crowns a Moroccan with the State Courageous Women Award

Moroccan Rabeha El Himer was awarded the international Courageous Women Award annually presented by the United States in recognition of the contributions of women from around the world who have shown courage and leadership, especially in promoting justice and equality.

The First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken presented the “2024 State Courageous Women Award” to Rabeha El Himer during a ceremony held at the White House.

El Himer said, “I am honored to be recognized by the United States among women from various walks of life.” The U.S. Embassy in Rabat stated that “Rabeha El Himer is a courageous Moroccan woman who succeeded in navigating the judicial system and fought to obtain, through the right provided by the Moroccan Family Code, recognition of her traditional marriage to save her daughter from the marginalization often experienced by illegitimate children.”

The Washington Embassy, in a statement released on its online platform, emphasized that “Rabeha’s story became more than just a personal victory when she met British director Deborah Perkin, who agreed to tell her journey in a documentary titled Bastards.”

The documentary, aired on the second government channel on May 2, 2014, tells the story of Rabeha El Himer’s struggle, which began when her family decided to marry her before the legal age of 14 to her cousin. The traditional marriage took place without a marriage contract.

Rabeha states in the film that her life became a hell with her husband. She had to return to her parents’ home and suddenly discovered that she was pregnant. After childbirth, she had to fight with her husband to prove her daughter’s lineage and register her in the civil registry.

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