The Oasis Reporters
August 17, 2017
No longer will a Lebanese man stalk a girl he admires, corner and rape her, then confess. That way he gets an unwilling wife by force of masculine strength.
That law in the penal code has been scrapped. Any trial at that would land the rapist in jail.
Lebanese men will now begin to learn the slow process of courting, convincing a woman with the power of the tongue and gifts then showing love to win her over. Most importantly, the girl will have to love the man in reciprocity. It’s a long journey that must start with the first step.
Lebanon’s parliament abolished the law on Wednesday that absolves rapists if they marry their victims, joining other Arab states that have repealed “marry-your-rapist” laws in recent weeks.
Lawmaker Elie Kayrouz, who backed ending the law – article 522 of the penal code – said other clauses A are also required to change in order to protect women and children.
Still, “at the end of the day, this represents a positive development in Lebanon’s legislation,” he told Reuters.
Jordan abolished a similar marriage loophole this month, and Tunisia passed a law in July to protect women against violence which included scrapping a similar clause.
Egypt abolished it’s law in 1999, and the kingdom of Morocco repealed it in 2014 when the country was stunned after the suicide of a 16-year-old girl and the attempted suicide of a 15-year-old forced to marry their rapists.
Rapists can still evade punishment by marrying their victims in nations including Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, the Philippines and Tajikistan, according to the global campaign group ‘Equality Now’.
The U.N. says a third of women worldwide have suffered sexual or physical violence, and one in 10 girls have been raped or sexually assaulted.
“Today, we want to congratulate the women of Lebanon,” said lawyer Danielle Howayek, from the Beirut-based women’s rights group Abaad.
Howayek said there was still a long way to go for Lebanese law to protect women, but getting rid of the “marry-your-rapist” provision – which dates back to 1943 – marked a major step.
“Today, it should be clear to everyone that there is no room for avoiding the penalty for rape, and for any sexual act by force or under duress,” she added.
Abaad has lobbied against the law for months, plastering the streets with billboards of women in bloodied and torn bridal gowns. “A white dress doesn’t cover up rape,” the images say.
In April, activists hung battered white dresses from nooses on Beirut’s popular seafront.
Justice Minister Salim Jrayssati said he would consult women’s rights groups to “see if there’s a need for other or more amendments”.
Lebanon’s parliament passed a long-awaited law in 2014 penalizing domestic violence for the first time. But activists were outraged that authorities had watered it down and that it fell short of criminalizing marital rape.
The abolition follows a lengthy and often graphic campaign by women and children’s rights activists.
In April, campaigners hung white wedding dresses from nooses on Beirut’s popular seafront.
“This is a very positive and long-overdue development for the protection of women’s rights in Lebanon,” Bassam Khawaja, Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“At the same time in Lebanon, there are several long overdue women’s rights developments that we still have to tackle. So parliament should … immediately pass legislation to end marital rape and also child marriage, which is still legal in Lebanon,” said Khawaja.
“This is definitely a step that needs to be celebrated for all women in Lebanon,” Roula Masri of local rights group Abaad told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
For more than one year, Abaad had campaigned against the country’s law, posting billboards of women in bloodied and torn wedding gowns that read: “A white dress does not cover the rape.”
The wind of dignity is currently blowing across the Middle East and other far Eastern countries for women to earn more respect in the ever changing world with the effects of globalization.
Thomas Reuters Foundation
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