A Lebanese NGO (non-governmental organization) known as Abaad has just won the "Campaign" category at the annual United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Awards. And rightly so!
The organization won out of over 2,000 applications and 142 countries for its campaign back in 2016 to abolish marital rape laws.
In 2016, Abaad initiated a massive campaign called "A White Dress Doesn't Cover Rape." Young women from the NGO, wearing white wedding dresses and makeup simulating bruises, posted outside on the streets near the Parliament.
Their statement couldn't have been clearer in standing against the law that pardoned rapists if they married their victims.
According to that clause No. 522, "...if a legal marriage was held between the person who committed any of the crimes mentioned in this chapter and the victim, the prosecution would be stopped; and if a verdict in the case was issued, the implementation of the punishment is suspended."
Abaad was eventually successful in its efforts, as the Parliament abolished that archaic penal code in August of 2017.
Abaad's impacting campaign made also its impression on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), standing out among the 2000 candidates.
The award ceremony took place last Friday in Bonn, Germany. Representing her NGO, Abaad's founder and director Ghida Anani was the recipient of this prestigious award.
"Today, this award is really a salute toward [the victims'] faith, perseverance, and bravery to seek and stand up, claiming a just world and restoring humanity and dignity," Anani said in her acceptance speech.
Anani also stated that this campaign has helped in "undressing the culture of 'victim blaming' against all survivors of rape."
Abaad's projects also include awareness and advocacy for gender equality, education, domestic violence, and many other humanitarian and social causes.
This is a notable and highly regarded award for the organization and for Lebanon. We salute this NGO's tireless efforts in changing the system that had enabled the further mistreatment and suffering of rape victims.
It is a past we are not proud of, but together and with the relentless activism of organizations like Abaad, we are building a better future.