KAFA - meaning "Enough" in Arabic - a feminist secular NGO based in Lebanon, released a trailer for a new documentary titled "Against Me." It tells the stories of seven Lebanese women who had their lives changed because of how sexist and discriminatory Personal Status Laws are in Lebanon.
The documentary, directed by Lebanese journalist Diana Moukalled, is set to be screened on March 7th on the occasion of International Women's Day.
All seven women, who are from both Muslim and Christian backgrounds, narrate their stories in Arabic, with the documentary including English subtitles.
Against Me trailer:
"The child you bear and give life to from your soul is someone you cannot protect. The law is against you, Sharia is against you, religion is against you, and all of society is against you," says one woman.
The latter refers to the fact that men often take custody of the children, despite the mother playing the biggest role in raising and looking after them.
Because Lebanon consists of people belonging to a large number of sects and religions, the country has around15 laws regarding personal status. In other words, when it comes to issues like inheritance and divorce, each person must abide by the laws pertaining to the religion and sect they belong to.
"If I had $1,000 to give to my lawyer, he would immediately settle my divorce," said another woman with tears in her eyes.
"I followed over the course of months different court cases for women of multiple sects and documented how these laws impact their lives," said Moukalled in a radio interview with Monte Carlo Doualiya.
"The documentary follows the discriminatory side of these laws from the perspective of personal experiences," Moukalled followed.
"We need a civil status law that treats everyone equally, regardless of their religion or gender."
KAFA, aka Enough Violence & Exploitation, seeks to create a society "free of social, economic and legal patriarchal structures that discriminate against women."
The non-profit organization was established in 2005 and has carried out numerous campaigns over the years in an effort to eliminate gender-based violence, harassment, and abuse.
KAFA's most popular campaign against child marriage
KAFA released perhaps its most popular campaigns to date in 2015, featuring a child marriage stunt, in which a young girl in a bridal dress is seen taking photos with her husband, who appears old enough to be her father. The YouTube video now has over 3.7 million views and has received global attention.
According to a 2016 UNICEF report, six percent of women in Lebanon get married before turning 18.
Another campaign to raise the age of child brides
In 2016, KAFA launched yet another campaign fighting to raise the age of child brides by repealing Article 9 of the Lebanese Constitution, which gives religious authorities the freedom to impose their own laws on various issues including marriage, divorce, and child custody.
Another NGO, the Lebanese Democratic Women’s Gathering (RDFL) launched a campaign titled "Not Before 18" in October 2017, which aimed to raise awareness of the health risks of child marriage and push for a civil law that sets the minimum age of marriage to 18.