The demands of protecting women from domestic violence, the right of women for equal treatment, the right for Lebanese women to pass the nationality to their children are not simply demands of a few young activists who want a moment of fame.
These women are women you meet every day, but cannot hear simply because their voice has been hijacked by people like you.
YES!!! like you. Do not blame the corrupt politicians, the narrow-minded religious authorities and the lack of education that leads to regrettable decisions.
Blame yourself for not standing up to the rights of those women.
Blame yourself for allowing parliament members, ministers and politicians to stand in the way of the right of a woman to seek justice when beaten or raped.
You may convince yourself that this issue is not your own, it does not concern you. You may protect yourself from it today, but the day your sister is harassed on a street, the day your aunt if hit by her husband, the day your mother is raped, then it will start to concern you and you will only have revenge to serve you justice. There will be no law to protect you or your loved ones, to punish the sick men roaming around.
Freedom is not free, and rights are not granted. You have to fight for your right, you have to stand up for what you believe in.
It is not wrong to soothe the pain by ridiculing it and throwing jokes about it, otherwise Facebook pages such as “Lebanese Memes”, “Mashewe Ma3 El Shabeb” , “Demotivational Lebanon” and others would not have become so popular. These pages do shine some light on our dark reality with a smile, but always running away from reality and not facing it will not solve anything. There are those in Lebanon who are sacrificing their lives for change, who are taking those battles upon themselves. They may not be playing their cards right, they may not be as efficient and productive, but they are doing something about it, instead of simply watching and criticizing.
In a country that brags about women rights, liberties and open-mindedness, article 522 of the Lebanese penal code states, and I apologize for lack of legal translation:
If a legal marriage is established between the criminal accused of any of the acts listed above (mainly acts of sexual coercion, rape and kidnapping) and his victim, then the legal case against the criminal is dropped…
المادة522- معدلة وفقا للقانون تاريخ 5/2/1948
إذا عقد زواج صحيح بين مرتكب إحدى الجرائم الواردة في هذا الفصل وبين المعتدى عليها أوقفت الملاحقة وإذا كان صدر الحكم بالقضية علق تنفيذ العقاب الذي فرض عليه.
يعاد إلى الملاحقة أو تنفيذ العقوبة قبل انقضاء ثلاث سنوات على الجنحة وانقضاء خمس سنوات على الجناية إذا انتهى الزواج إما بطلاق المرأة دون سبب مشروع أو بالطلاق المحكوم به لمصلحة المعتدى عليها.
Ironically, the law is not only penal, but anal at the same time.
March 8,2013 was the International day for Women. After years of receiving nothing but deaf ears from the Lebanese parliamentary committee, a group of Lebanese women will be giving the Lebanese Parliament one more week to correct article 522 and serve justice to Lebanese women who still suffer from domestic violence. They plan to start a hunger strike and will need all the support possible, be it via social media or on the ground.
You too can support Lebanese women but sharing this cause, by discussing it with your Lebanese family and friends, by making sure it is on the agenda of any representative you vote for in the upcoming elections.
Photographs by Chantal Partamian:
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