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BEIRUT: On Friday, ABAAD launched a marketing campaign to demand the modification of Chapter Seven of the Lebanese Penal Code, on sexual assault crimes, calling on implementing stricter penalties for such crimes.

ABAAD Useful resource Heart for Gender Equality is a UN ECOSOC-accredited group that goals to attain gender equality as an important situation for sustainable social and financial growth within the MENA area.

The marketing campaign coincides with the Worldwide Day for the Elimination of Violence towards Girls, Nov. 25. The UN Fee for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Girls is launching a 16-day marketing campaign to fight gender-based violence. Some Lebanese events and commerce unions, such because the Free Patriotic Motion, the Lebanese Kataeb Occasion, and the Nationwide Federation of Employee and Worker Commerce Unions, responded to this UN name by holding conferences on Friday.

A current ABAAD nationwide survey confirmed that over half of girls who have been sexually assaulted in Lebanon didn’t report the crime on account of concerns regarding dignity and honor.

A survivor of sexual assault who shared her expertise with ABAAD stated: “I used to be raped, and found I used to be pregnant 5 months after the crime. My household forbid me to report the perpetrator as a result of they feared what individuals would say, and my brother threatened to kill me. I used to be in a deep state of shock, and was very affected psychologically, experiencing fixed concern, anxiousness, and desirous to isolate.”

The survey acknowledged: “Six out of ten ladies who have been sexually assaulted in Lebanon didn’t report the crime on account of concerns regarding dignity and honor. Whereas 75 p.c of girls thought-about sexual assault primarily a bodily and psychological assault on ladies, 71 p.c acknowledged that the society considers it an assault on the household’s honor.”

In keeping with the Safety Forces’ figures, 57 circumstances of sexual assault have been reported between January 2022 and October 2022 in Lebanon; 20 circumstances of rape and 37 circumstances of sexual harassment; a median of six circumstances per thirty days.

ABAAD’s fundamental message is that sexual assault is against the law worthy of a critical sentence to attain justice for survivors before everything and to guard ladies and women from sexual assault crimes.

The group’s nationwide survey included 1,800 ladies and women residing in Lebanon (1,200 Lebanese, 400 Syrian, 200 Palestinian), whose ages ranged between 18 and 50 years, of various walks of life, dwelling in varied Lebanese areas.

Ghida Anani, Director of ABAAD, stated: “We have now already begun coordinating with all related parliamentarian blocs within the Lebanese Parliament to submit the proposed authorized amendments of Chapter Seven of the Lebanese Penal Code. We rely on the legislature in Lebanon to approve the proposed amendments and supply each survivor and sufferer of these crimes the justice they deserve.”

In keeping with the survey, six out of ten ladies who’ve been sexually assaulted didn’t report it on account of dignity and honor, and 5 out of ten ladies who have been sexually assaulted didn’t report it as a result of their households refused to take action on account of dignity and honor.

It appeared outstanding that the conduct of girls modified in reporting, because it differed between those that have been sexually assaulted and people who weren’t subjected to sexual assault.

Girls who weren’t subjected to sexual violence confirmed, at a really excessive fee (84 p.c), that they might report such an assault. Nevertheless, paradoxically, this share decreased considerably (55 p.c) for ladies who have been sexually assaulted, beneath the strain of dignity and honor.

One of many testimonies learn: “I used to be raped. I didn’t report it to the safety forces as a result of I didn’t have authorized papers. I’ve been a refugee in Lebanon for years, and I used to be afraid that I’d be arrested. I didn’t inform anybody concerning the crime, and what torments me most right now is that the perpetrator was not punished.”

4 out of ten ladies who have been sexually assaulted didn’t report the assault as a result of nobody would imagine them. In distinction, two others didn’t report it as a result of they don’t belief that any motion could be taken towards the perpetrator.

Articles 503 and 504 of the Lebanese Penal Code outline the crime of rape because the coercion by violence, threats, deception, or abuse of a psychological or bodily impairment, of any particular person apart from one’s partner into sexual activity, and lay down the punishment for this offense.

“Sixty p.c of the individuals within the examine supported rising the penal sentences to life imprisonment for perpetrators of sexual violence, indecent acts, and threats, whereas 56 p.c of the individuals within the examine thought-about that present sentences towards perpetrators of sexual violence, indecent acts, and threats are unfair and are in favor of accelerating them to life imprisonment,” the survey famous.

Organizations have beforehand labored on abolishing Article 522 of the Lebanese Penal Code, which exempts a rapist from punishment if he marries the sufferer.

The Gender Working Group (GWG), the Gender-Primarily based Violence Working Group (GBV WG), and the Nationwide Fee for Lebanese Girls (NCLW) have acknowledged: “Violence towards ladies and women stays essentially the most widespread and pervasive human rights violation worldwide affecting greater than an estimated one in three ladies; a determine that has remained largely unchanged during the last decade. The latest world estimates present that, on common, a girl or woman is killed by somebody in her circle of relatives each 11 minutes.”

On this context, Joanna Wronecka, the UN Particular Coordinator for Lebanon, stated: “The 16 days of activism are a reminder that we shouldn’t be silent to such a violation of girls’s primary proper to stay in dignity, free from violence and concern. Lebanon’s restoration and constructing a greater future for the nation and its residents relies upon to a big extent on empowering ladies and giving them the area to take pleasure in their full rights as lively companions in society. The UN stands able to help Lebanon on this course of.”

The marketing campaign, which is able to run for 16 days, from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, consists of a social media marketing campaign with the #16days and #سوا_ضد_العنف hashtags. It would additionally embody a video and a collection of social media posts calling for everybody’s dedication to defending ladies and women.

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