Monday, March 21, 2016

The hard and cruel reality of domestic violence in Lebanon

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She wanted to run the marathon but her husband didn’t see it that way. So he tried to force her to leave, while most people stood by and didn’t lift a finger to help her.

It happened during Beirut Women’s Marathon. The young woman and her violent husband were actors. There were part of a stunt by the NGO March. But the people’s inaction was sadly very real.

A couple of years ago, following their Stop Domestic Violence social media campaign, March wanted a strong follow-up. Together we worked on a stunt to occur during Beirut Women’s Marathon. Obviously, it was still meant to raise awareness on the issue, but not only. It was only also designed to see how people would react to domestic violence if there were exposed to it in real life.

And the result was shocking. In principle, people joined this marathon to support women’s rights – mainly against domestic violence – but when they were confronted with the problem, when it happened right in front of them, only a few had the courage to intervene, while most did nothing. Actually, if you look closely at the video (watch below), you’ll notice people moving away from the scene.

The video went viral and got close to 2 million views. But the cruel reality remained: in Lebanon, we’re very big on talk, but when it comes to action, there’s almost no one left on board.



Keeping the issue alive: KAFA organized today a symbolic protest demanding justice for the victims of domestic violence

Every so often (too often really), a woman dies, beaten by her husband. When the news is known there’s a big outcry, a burst of inflammatory outrage on social media, rivers of virtual tears and angry statements. But a couple of days later, it’s all forgotten. Until the next death, until the next outcry.

Why am I writing about this on Mother’s Day? Call me a party pooper, but I’d rather not wait for the next dead body of a beaten mother to make the evening news. If every one of us does his or her bit, as the NGO KAFA ("enough" in Arabic) did today in front of the Ministry of Justice, there’s a chance things will improve.

If enough people make themselves heard by keeping the issue alive and top-of-mind, the politicians counting on our vote in the next elections (municipal and parliamentary) will know that if they want to be elected, they’d need to make domestic violence a priority.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

QUOTE - So he tried to force her to leave, while most people stood by and didn’t lift a finger to help her – UNQUOTE

False…people intervened and tried to stop him, he looks like a big guy, and it is courageous from a woman to confront him. Your article is not very accurate.