Feminist activists demand Lebanon rejects rape law

Published Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lebanese activists marched on the capital Beirut on Saturday demanding the government reject a new version of a law which was supposed to outlaw domestic abuse.

A draft of the law released last year made rape within marriage illegal for the first time in Lebanon.

However the law was significantly amended by a parliamentary committee and no longer refers to marital rape of women, instead leaving the definition to individual religious councils.

Over a hundred protesters marched to the Lebanese Parliament to demand that the original bill be reinstated.

Farah Kobaissy, an activist and member of the feminist group Nasawiya, said the march aimed to shed light upon the changes to the law.

“The committee in the parliament has almost finished its work but the result is a terrible law which does not really protect women from domestic violence,” she said.

“We don't want this law if it is going to pass with the amendments the committee have made.”

The number of rapes within marriage in Lebanon is difficult to estimate as they are often unreported. However the Lebanese women's rights organization KAFA says their Beirut center alone sees some 300 cases of marital rape a year.

The initial bill was hailed as a victory for women's rights in Lebanon, but several members of the parliamentary committee were hostile to it.

MP Imad Hout, one of the eight committee members tasked with amending the bill, sparked anger last year when he said "there's nothing called rape between a husband and a wife. It's called forcing someone violently to have intercourse."

The march marked the beginning of a campaign, with other protests planned to increase pressure on political leaders.

“Our action will be increasing. This is one march, and we are planning other steps to take in the coming few weeks,” Kobaissy said.

(Al-Akhbar)

Comments

Open up a dictionary and look up rape. Rape IS called forcing someone violently to have intercourse... Why is rape generally a crime ha? It's because 1) your freedom stops where another person's starts... 2) the psychological effects on the victim.

Assuming that the partners, not getting along now, will do later is wrong. They might not. Marriage might have nothing to do with their love or understanding. This assumption is what leads someone to think that it's more ok than rape by a stranger. It is even scary and pride hurting to be abused by someone who is involved in your life than by someone who isn't, for that to be ignored, and for you to not find a way out..

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