A campaign against Article 522 of the Lebanese penal code, which permits rapists to avoid punishment by marrying their victims, made gains on December 7, after the parliamentary Committee for Administration and Justice announced that it had decided to abolish the article, according to an Al-Arabi Al-Yawm TV report. On December 6, a demonstration was waged by the ABAAD association, with women standing in the street in blood-stained wedding dresses, holding placards that read: "A white dress does not cover up rape. Undress 522." Footage of the demonstration was broadcast by Al-Jadeed/New TV.
Text: "Article 522 of the Lebanese Penal Code exempts from punishment a rapist who marries his victim"
Narrator: "With this video, which reflects the sentiments of any woman forced to marry her rapist, the ABAAD association began its campaigning to abolish Article 522 of the [Lebanese] penal code. The article stipulates that a rapist is exempt from punishment if he marries his victim. The campaign has almost accomplished its goal, after the parliamentary Committee of Administration and Justice announced that it had decided to abolish the article. The details will be deliberated next Wednesday, and from there it will be referred to parliament for ratification."
"This is not the first time that civil campaigns have managed to bring about legislative change in Lebanon. These campaigns employ various means, such as demonstrations, symbolic sit-ins, and various activities, aimed at raising public awareness and exerting pressure on the decision-makers."
Narrator 2: "'White dress does not cover up rape. Undress522' – with this slogan, the ABAAD association renewed its activity, standing silently in (Beirut's) Riad Al Solh Square, demanding the abolishment of this article, and the right of rape survivors to refuse to marry their rapist."
Hiam Bakt: "We have come to say: Don't marry us off to our rapist. I think that he should be executed or sentenced to life in solitary confinement. The important thing is that he be placed on trial. Somebody hurts us, causes us psychological damage, and makes us ill. We can no longer eat, drink or think. All we do is wonder: What did we do to deserve this? Is it because we are weak? We are not weak. We are strong. Once, when I was lying in hospital, a male nurse sexually harassed me. He attacked me when I was asleep."