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Justice over honor: Kuwait should amend its Penal Code to protect women and girls from sexual violence

Kuwait’s Penal Code defines rape as a crime against honor, positioning women and girls as ‘vessels of honor’ rather than recognizing their human right to bodily integrity and sexual autonomy.

A lawyer associated with Abolish Article 153 represented Hana* who was raped at the age of 16. To protect her family’s honor and avoid a scandal, Hana was forced to marry the man who raped her. 

In Kuwait, Article 182 allows an abductor to escape punishment if he marries the person that he abducted. Hana was forced to marry the man who raped her due to family and societal pressure as a way to “save the honor of the family”. 

“My life stopped when I was raped and abducted. I left school and I do not go outside the house. I do not have a future.” 

As well as repealing Article 182, together with our partner, Abolish Article 153, we are calling on Kuwait to amend, in line with international human rights standards, Article 153 which provides a lenient sentence for a man who kills his female relatives.

Join our joint calls on Kuwait to amend the Penal Code to:

  • Categorize rape as a crime against a person’s right to bodily integrity, removing references to honor and morality
  • Ensure the definition of rape is based on consent and a wide range of coercive circumstances, and not reliant on the use of force, threats, or deception 
  • Ensure all forms of non-consensual sexual acts are covered by the definition of sexual violence
  • Ensure all types of sexual violence are criminalized, including marital rape
  • Remove provisions which allow for a perpetrator to escape punishment by marrying their victim
  • Repeal provisions that provide lenient sentences for a man who kills his female relatives.  

In partnership with Abolish Article 153