- Abaad's #Undress522, the campaign that won big on all frontsIn Lebanon, a rapist can be exonerated if he marries his victim (article 522 of the penal Code). Yet only 1% of the Lebanese people knew about it. Abaad, an independent civil association that champions women's rights and aims to achieve gender equality in Lebanon, wanted to raise awareness about this issue and put pressure on the parliament to abolish this law. The organisation commissioned Leo Burnett Beirut agency to help them achieve their goals. As soon as #Undress522 campaign rolled out across the country, not only it instantly achieved viral success, but Abaad activists and all supporters managed to make their voice so loud that under pressure, the Lebanese parliament assigned a commission to discuss the law. Finally the commission drafted the amendment to abolish it and forced the parliament to ratify it. The campaign, which resonated with Lebanese citizens, politicians, and decision makers, has also achieved international success; the latest being the prestigious recognition it received at Cannes Festival of Creativity where the #Undress522 campaign scooped five Lions awards (one silver in the Glass category, two silver and one bronze in PR and one bronze in Entertainment) making it the most awarded MENA campaign this year at Cannes. In a talk with ArabAd, Ghida Anani, Founder and Director of ABAAD organisation elaborates on the Undress 522 journey—from day one till the cherry on top that came in the form of five Lions metals recognising the intelligent creativity and all efforts extended by the organisation to reach its challenging goals.
- Campaign to Abolish the 522
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