Shame on Who? Lebanese Campaign Exposes 'Victim Blaming' Attitudes to Rape

Published November 7th, 2018 - 12:18 GMT
Manal, a Lebanese young woman who acts as a rape victim to monitor how will people handle her issue.
Manal, a Lebanese young woman who acts as a rape victim to monitor how will people handle her issue.

By Randa Darwish

It did not take Lebanese a long time until they found out the truth behind the mysterious “Shame on Who?” messages they have been receiving in text messages during the weekend.

Lebanese civil society is insisting on fighting "victim-blaming culture." The latest was campaign “مين الفلتان؟” [Shame on Who?] that aims to raise awareness among Lebanese to start protecting rape victims instead of blaming them.

The campaign was launched by Abaad, a local non-profit organization promotes equality and empowerment of women and according to the organization, the campaign started by sending anonymous text messages that read: “Shame on who?”.

The messages sparked controversy shortly before the organization release a video on social media that clears everything up.

The video monitors reactions of passerbys, that, to some extent, reflect attitudes towards rape. Reactions were mixed between some who showed empathy toward her and offered her help, and others who did not believe her or blamed her and her clothes for what she had suffered.

The video monitors reactions of passerby, that, to some extent, reflect the actual Lebanese society way of handling rape.

The campaign came to continue the organization’s success in pressuring the government to repeal rape-marriage law Article 522. The law allowed rapists to avoid punishment for rape if they produced a valid marriage contract with the victim

On social media, the campaign received massive reactions, mostly supportive of the idea and glad that such matters are now being discussed in Lebanon in public.

The organization was also applauded for their creative idea in discussing a sensitive matter like this.

Meanwhile, some opinions were mixed between supporting the fact that victim-blaming culture need to find an end, but expressing their dissatisfaction with the video idea and the way it reviewed the issue.

Translation: “Regarding the video of the girl who is acting as a rape victim, with all due respect to whoever is responsible about it, it is all wrong. Does it suggest that the rape victim should walk in streets late night to tell everyone that she was raped? Is this normal? Your aim is good but the video is lame and bad.”


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