“Don’t shy away – speak out” is an anti-sexual harassment campaign launched by activists in Lebanon to address the problem in public places and the workplace.
“Raghida Ghamlouch, a social worker with the non-governmental Lebanese Council to Resist Violence Against Women, said Lebanon’s social fabric does not encourage victims to speak out.
‘Lebanese society is still macho and systematically places the blame on the woman,’ Ghamlouch told AFP.
‘Women are told it is their fault if they hitch a cab off the street, if they are dressed a certain way, if they come home late, and so forth,’ she added.
‘And for women who are adults, it is even worse: They are accused of having deliberately provoked the man.’
Another factor that silences victims are Lebanon’s unjust laws, which do not explicitly consider harassment a crime.
And a convicted rapist in Lebanon is let off the hook if he consents to marry his victim.
‘Even police mock women who come in to their station to file complaints of harassment or domestic violence,’ Hashem said….
‘If the complaints increase, perhaps then the authorities cannot discount it,’ Hashem said. ‘Perhaps then they will see it is a real problem.’”
So clearly the activists have their work cut out for them and their work is very much needed!
Anyway, bravo to the Lebanese activists and may they help break down the culture of victim-blaming and empower women to come forward against harassers.