Article 522 of Lebanon’s Penal Code stops prosecution or execution of a penalty when the perpetrator of a rape, kidnapping, or statutory rape marries the person he has raped or kidnapped. The article was meant to safeguard the “honour and dignity of the victim’s family.”
Abaad, a regional NGO advocating women's rights, plays its cards right in its latest print and TVC campaign showing a bride with torn wedding dress and a line that reads "the white will not cover up the rape." Aside from being visually striking, Abaad's ultimate objective is to abolish law 522 once and for all. So triggering awareness as a first step is a noble initiative, as it turns out only 1% of the Lebanese are aware of the penal code 522, and that 80% of them find that it is unjust to the raped and withholds her vindication. With many human interest causes competing for attention, and with Lebanon being a patriarchal-based society, change is not an easy task. Many NGOs believe that if the law is changed, at least the protagonists will have protection, but change must come from the mentality to begin with.
Meanwhile, Abaad along with several activists took their message on the ground through some unconventional, attention-seeking demonstrations to impact the decision of the members of the Parliament and maximise pressure in order to, once and for all, abolish the 522.
Agency: Leo Burnett Beirut
Production house: Clandestino Films Director: Danielle Rizkallah Sound design: Ryan Sfeir DoP: Karim Ghorayeb