In 2016, under the approach of ending sexual gender based violence and with the support of many International Organizations and UN agencies, like UN Women, Plan International, Save the Children International, Diakonia and Norwegian Church Aid, ABAAD launched a campaign under the title “A White Dress Doesnt cover the Rape” during the 16 days of Activism to end violence against women, as part of the process of demanding the abolishment of article 522 of the Lebanese Penal Code.
On Wednesday December 7, the Lebanon’s parliamentary committee for administration and justice announced a recommendation to repeal Article 522 of the country’s penal code.
The massive awareness campaign grew widely, and millions of people around the world were supporting the cause and asserting that rape is a crime and that rapists should be punished rather than rewarded with marriage. The campaign gained a lot of attention and coverage from local, regional, as well as international media outlets.
What does the Lebanese Penal Code provide in its article 522?
“In the event a legal marriage is concluded between the person who committed any of the crimes mentioned in this chapter [including rape, kidnapping and statutory rape], and the victim, prosecution shall be stopped and in case a decision is rendered, the execution of such decision shall be suspended against the person who was subject to it. Prosecution or the execution of the penalty shall be resumed before the lapse of three years in cases of misdemeanors and five years in cases of felonies, in the event such marriage ends by the divorce of the woman without a legitimate reason or by a divorce which is decided by court in favor of the woman”
Article 522 includes the crimes already mentioned in the chapter Seven of the Lebanese Panel Code “offenses against honor” that deals with rape, kidnapping, seduction, indecency, and the violation of women’s private spaces.
Why did ABAAD work on abolishing article 522? And how?
Article 522 of the Lebanese Penal Code is considered as a blatant discrimination against girls and women and their human rights and applies all over the Lebanese territory.
Our campaign Abolish 522 aims to:
- Push for the abolition of article 522;
- Stress on the right of women survivors of rape to refuse to marry their rapist, and put an end to their stigmatization and shaming;
- Encourage people to join our cause, through the clear differentiation between the act of rape as a crime, and what society considers as the women’s honor;
- Emphasize that forcing women to marry their rapist is a repressive act that legitimizes rape against women on a daily basis. Parents should therefore be convinced that the marriage of the victim to her rapist is not the solution and does not protect women;
- Rape is a crime, and the rapist should be punished.