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Rape Law Protested in Lebanon Where Marriage Trumps Charge

Image: Rape Law Protested in Lebanon Where Marriage Trumps Charge

Bandaged women dressed as brides protest Lebanon rape law. Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)
 

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Dec 2016 08:32 AM

Lebanon's rape law that exempts men from the charge if they marry the victim was protested in Beirut on Tuesday by women in blood-stained wedding dresses as legislators discussed repealing the law.

About a dozen women demonstrated outside government buildings in white wedding dresses stained with fake blood and wearing bandages, reported The Associated Press.

"We reject this violation of women regardless of their age, background, environment, whether they have special needs or the circumstances of the rape," Ghida Anani, of the local non-governmental organization Abaad, told the AP.

The "rape law" has been around since the late 1940s despite past efforts to repeal it.

Under current Lebanon law, those convicted of rape can receive up to seven years in prison, said the AP. That sentence could increase if the victim has special needs or physically or mentally disabled. But the law allows for criminal prosecution to be suspended if the suspect marries the victim.

"If my children ask how did I meet their father, what do I say? 'I married the person who raped me,'" Hayam Baker, one of the protesters, told the AP. She said she was sexually harassed by a male nurse several years while recovering from a life-threatening injury.

While domestic violence legislation was recently passed, language that would have criminalized marital rape was removed, said Reuters.

Lebanon's religious courts have complained that legislation to weaken the law was an attempt to westernize Arab families and weaken their power, said Reuters. Some of the country's religious leaders rebuffed efforts to criminalize marital rape, saying that sexual intercourse was a husband's right.

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Lebanon's rape law that exempts men from the charge if they marry the victim was protested in Beirut on Tuesday by women in blood-stained wedding dresses as legislators discussed repealing the law.
rape law, protest, lebanon
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2016-32-07
Wednesday, 07 Dec 2016 08:32 AM
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