14 january 2012,
Today was the day. We all marched to fight the regressive rape laws in Lebanon after nasawiya’s call to protest and walk from sanayeh to Riyad el Solh square, just few meters away from the parliament.
It was raining, the weather wasn’t helping at all but it surely didn’t stop those amazing people and activists from fighting for their rights, the right to feel safe, to protect women from violence. Rebel women and men ( yes many are the men who support women’s rights ), full of energy screaming slogans, jumping all around, enthousiastic people marching under colorful umbrellas, Wet men, wet women, from head to toe, just walking despite all the heavy rain ! Flags and posters waving everywhere. This is what Downtown Beirut looked like on a cold saturday january morning.
What do we want?
-Reconsider the actual law and mainly the abolition of the article 503 that says ” a rapist can be acquitted if he marries his victim. His sentence would be reduced if he proposes marriage. The maximum sentence being 5 years. This law doesn’t include husbands who rape their wives. Rape is interpreted as a penis penetrating a vagina. All other forms of sexual violence are not criminalized”.
-Fight sexual harrasment and deal with complaints related to sexual violence with rigor and consistency
-Safe streets especially at night, etc…
-Protection of women from domestic violence [including marital rape]
At the end, we arrived at Riad el Solh, the rain stopped and a warm ray of sun renewed the energy of the crowd.
Yes, Every cloud has a silver lining…