A white wedding gown does not cover up the rape
December 7 2016, remember this date. Today was a glorious day for the Lebanese women rights. The mobilization of numerous NGOs including Abaad, an association that fights for gender equality and the empowerment of women, has succeeded in getting legislators to act. The repeal of the article 522 of the Criminal Code stipulating that any prosecution and punishment issued against a rapist must be withdrawn if the rapist marries his victim, has just been voted by the parliamentary committee. However, we will have to wait until the next plenary session of the Parliament to formalize the project of law proposed by the deputy Elie Keyrouz.
The Committee has now examined a series of laws, from the article 503 to the article 522. Articles 503 and 504 of the Penal Code define rape as any sexual act perpetrated under pressure on any woman not married to the rapist. These sections therefore explicitly exclude marital rape and do not treat it as a crime.
Surprisingly, article 522, as absurd as it is degrading, is unknown to most Lebanese. “Only 1% of the Lebanese population knows the existence of this law,” says Alia Awada, campaign manager in Abaad. "In order to raise awareness on article 522, we published billboards in Lebanon and posted a moving video on our Facebook page."
Until the head of parliament Nabih Berry convokes the deputies for a plenary session, the communication campaign of Abaad will have reached the general public.