Source: Al Araby

Sexual harassment is and remains an immense problem throughout the world, and Lebanon is no exception.

Women in the country frequently complain about unwanted verbal commentary from men as they walk down the street, casually drive, or commute in cabs or buses.

Unfortunately, it goes beyond just the verbal assault.

On Friday, one Lebanese student, who studies at the American University of Beirut, was physically assaulted and decided to talk openly about her encounter via Twitter.

The 20-year-old Lebanese student - who prefers to keep her full name anonymous - told StepFeed the details of the assault.

The assault took place around midnight on Friday on Makdessi street in Hamra, a five-minute walk from AUB's main entrance to the campus.

The man approached her and started asking the 20-year-old for directions. 

"He was very pushy and tried being a smooth talker but I just wanted to leave," she said.

She explained that the man has been around for a little over a year and had approached her at the time for the same purpose. 

"I was physically harmed. When I tried to leave, he pulled me to him and with that his hand pressed so hard on my arm it bruised. When he was tugging, I hit my leg with something nearby and bruised it as well," she explained.

Considering the fact that it was a bit late, the student didn't do anything but "try to let go of him and run."

Other women began speaking up soon after

"If it's the same guy, he's been around for at least 3 years"

#NotYourAshta: There is nothing "sweet" about harassment

"I've experienced numerous encounters where I got cat-called. A couple of times, [this] happened on Bliss Street and Makdessi, when it was pure daylight," the 20-year-old explained.

"Other times it occurred near Cola area and Bourj Hammoud."

In 2016, the #NotYourAshta campaign - led by AUB's KIP Project on Gender and Sexuality - aimed to "provide a platform for individuals to share empowering messages and vocalize their resistance against different manifestations of street and sexual harassment."

#MeshBasita: The fight against sexual harassment in Lebanon is ongoing

In 2017, Mesh Basita - a digital campaign led by KIP, in collaboration with the Ministry of State for Women's Affairs - encouraged women to speak out against harassment.

"What we're doing is highlighting something that doesn't get talked about in Lebanon very often, and it’s been a positive response – many people say they feel relieved they are finally able to talk about it," Heather Jaber, Communications Coordinator for the KIP project, told The Independent. 

The campaign's main aim was to encourage Lebanese women to speak up and call out harassers. At the same time, it urged legislative reform to criminalize sexual harassment in Lebanon. 

"In the Lebanese law there is no definition of sexual violence, there is no statement on what sexual violence is," Caroline Succar Slaiby, vice president of the Lebanese Women's Democratic Gathering, told The Daily Star.

"We don't have anything that is called sexual harassment. We [only] have certain articles in the penal code that [tackle] issues 'disrupting public morality.'"

Source: YouTube

In 2012, civil society activists drafted a comprehensive law detailing sexual harassment in a project titled "Moughamarat Salwa," which translates to "The Adventures of Salwa." The mascot of the campaign defeats misogynistic men using her superpower: her handbag.

In 2014, MP Ghassan Moukheiber submitted a proposal of a law which criminalizes sexual harassment. However, he wasn't able to present the law proposal until January 2017 due to the country's political deadlock at the time.

Multiple draft laws on sexual harassment have been introduced, however, parliament has yet to pass a bill.

Prior to the country's elections in 2018, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged potential candidates to "commit to passing a law against sexual harassment."