Lebanon had exploded in anger last week after photos and brochures of young girls being offered for marriage flooded social media platforms.
The story started with two Facebook and Instagram accounts that carried the name: “Young 3arous” [Young Bride]. The accounts were posting images for minor girls with their names and ages. The accounts also offered a local phone number for inquiries and more details.
It did not only stop there. Brochures were distributed carrying the same name with the girls images.
The Lebanese community exploded in outrage with thousands of social media posts calling users to report the accounts and others calling to contact the number provided in the advertisement to shame them.
It did not last long, the two accounts were closed.
Lebanese opinions moved between condemnation and anger. Others raised doubts about the credibility of the accounts. Some suggested it might be a campaign launched by some organization to raise awareness about the issue of early marriage in Lebanon.
Which turned out to be true.
Translation: “Women are not for sale! We wish there will be an awareness campaign behind this ad, with our concerns that this violates several child protection laws. To make sure that this ad was real and to ensure accountability, “Abaad” has taken all the necessary actions with authorities.”
On Monday, a Lebanese local TV hosted activists from the Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering-RDFL, revealed they were behind the outrageous campaign and it is one of their efforts to put more pressure on the government to end laws that allow minors marriage.
The organization revealed the original website behind “Young 3arous” campaign where they posted real stories behind girls who got married early and suffered. Some of them got killed by their husbands.
The campaigners also revealed video and audio recordings of phone calls they received from people inquiring about the advertisement trying to seriously find young brides for marriage. Other recordings were from people who shamed them and threatened to call police for them.
While some considered the campaign was successful as it succeeded in achieving the main aim behind it to put more pressure on the government to change laws and criminalize minors marriage. However, some criticised the campaign’s way that might inspire others to actually do it in real life.
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