- Lebanon has erected a statue dedicated to survivors of gender-based violence
- It was unveiled on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
- The Lebanese President Michel Aoun called violence against women a form of barbarism at the event
- Campaigns intended to raise awareness about violence against women are sweeping through Lebanon
Lebanese President Michel Aoun Saturday unveiled a statue dedicated to all women who have faced gender-based violence, as campaigns intended to raise awareness about violence against women sweep through Lebanon.
"We unveil the monument for both men and women to see, so that they are reminded of ... the vulnerable women who are subjected to the power of men," Aoun said at the ceremony, which took place along the road to Baabda Palace on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The statue, made by sculptor Sami Basbous, was the product of a collaboration between the Ministry of State for Women's Affairs, the National Commission for Lebanese Women and ABAAD – an NGO aimed at promoting sustainable and economic growth through empowering marginalized groups such as women.
In his speech, Aoun described violence against women as a type of barbarism – the result of an absence of human feeling towards another being. "One of my goals as president is to eliminate the legal differences between men and women, although this is a small step towards eliminating gender-based violence," he said.
"It's painful to see that one in four women experiences sexual abuse,” ABAAD director Ghida Anani said. “It's painful to see that every month, a woman is killed. We are demanding our full citizenship rights.”
She added that the statue was “proof of President Aoun's commitment to end violence against women.”
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Meanwhile, the Internal Security Forces flagged down cars and passers-by, handing out pamphlets highlighting the laws protecting women and the role of the ISF in enforcing these statutes.
The pamphlets include information on the steps women should take if they are experiencing any form of violence or harassment.
The Lebanese Army, too, observed the occasion, with Army personnel donning white ribbons in support of the White Ribbon Campaign, a global movement that encourages men to end male violence against women.
On Friday, the National Democratic Institute hosted a conference to discuss the need for more women to participate in Lebanese politics, the state-run National News Agency reported.
The event, sponsored by the U.K. Embassy in Lebanon, aimed to encourage Lebanese women to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, which are slated for spring or summer 2018.
"Our internal polling and research in Lebanon, as well as our experience in the U.K., show that younger and first-time voters will seek out lists containing women, and will reward parties that lead the way," British Ambassador Hugo Shorter said, as quoted by NNA.
The United Nations has also launched a 16-day international campaign against gender-based violence.
This article has been edited by Al Bawaba from its original version