He said it like it meant nothing, and he certainly does not care how she feels.
A Tunisian talk show host has caused outrage across the North African country after appearing to tell a pregnant rape victim she should marry her alleged attacker to “close the case”.
Ala Chebbi, who presents Andi Mankolek (translated as ‘I’ve something to tell you’), was interviewing a young woman called Hajar. She told him she had been raped by three members of her family since the age of 14.
Now eight months pregnant, Hajar said that due to poverty she was forced to leave school aged 14 and work on the family farm, BBC reports.
Accompanied by her older brother Allala, Hajar told Mr Chebbi she was kicked out of the family home after getting pregnant from one of her abusers.
When Hajar’s father joined the programme, Ala Chebbi suggested to him, “Whoever did it should marry her to close the case” and “contain the situation”.
On being asked which of her alleged abusers was the father of her unborn child, Hajar said she could not be certain but suspected her stepmother’s brother.
Allala’s brother told the talk show host all the alleged abusers were married to which Mr Chebbi apparently responded: “Whoever did it should marry her to close the case.”
Mr Chebbi seemed to tell the girl she should have reported her suspected abusers and ask her father’s forgiveness for being pregnant out of wedlock. He added: “Admit that you are at fault.”
In response to his comments, thousands showed their displeasure on social media including liking a Facebook page entitled: “Marry her rapist, he said. See you in court, we respond.”
The Tunisian media regulator has suspended the programme for three months deciding the talk show had “violated human dignity”.
Mr Chebbi told Mosaique Radio his remarks had been taken out of context but reiterated his opinion that Hajar made a mistake of remaining silent.
He said: “This is the case of many Tunisian girls who have been raped and did not say anything; silence is the core of this case.”
Keep calm; Ala Chebbi’s programme has been suspended for three months! That sounds like a good start.