A popular Tunisian talk show host has caused outrage and anger across social media after he told a young female guest to marry the man she accuses of raping her, even going as far as to suggest she is to blame for being raped.
The girl, named Hajar, had been invited on the show (video below) to tell her story about how she had been raped by different members of her family since the age of 14.
She told the show that she was eight months pregnant by one of her abusers.
Her father and brother were also sitting on stage as the presenter, Ala Chebbi, suggested to her father “whoever did it should marry her to close the case” and “contain the situation”.
The girl can be seen crying as the presenter tells her she should ‘ask forgiveness’ from her father for making a ‘mistake’.
In shock to what the presenter was telling her to do Hajar replies saying: ‘What did I do to him.’
The presenter then tells her: ‘Hajar, you got pregnant without being married.’
It also emerged during the show that Hajar was forced to give up school at the age of 14 to work on the family farm.
Hajar’s elder brother, Allala, told the presenter that he had contacted the show out of despair after his father, ashamed at her pregnancy, kicked her out of the family home.
The presenter also asked the girl who the father of the unborn child is and she told him she was not sure but suspects the brother of her stepmother.
He then shockingly tells her: “at least, he can recognise his child and give him his name”.
The remarks have prompted an outcry and anger on social media across the world.
Thousands of people have shared an image on Facebook of the show’s studio with a caption saying: “Mr Ala: The punishment for rape is imprisonment, not marriage.”
Tunisia’s media regulator has suspended the programme for three months after finding it to have “violated human dignity”.