Arab women are heroines who lead revolutions, stand up to oppressors, and call for the abolishment of patriarchal systems that continue to treat them like second-class citizens.
To honor their battle, Lebanese women's rights organization ABAAD launched a powerful song and music video titled Not Your Honor. The clip was launched on the occasion of the "16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence" initiative which took off on Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
In a statement in which she discussed the vision and message behind the song, ABAAD's founder and director Ghida Anani said:
"The sexual crimes against women, the shaming of victims of rape and murders in the name of 'honor' we're witnessing in Lebanon and the Arab world put us in the face of a real challenge where the importance of imposing stricter punishments on all forms of sexual abuse is crucial. Because that's the only way through which we can stop harassers and embolden protective societal values for victims."
A field study recently conducted by ABAAD found that around 55 percent of individuals who make up Lebanon's society mainly link the sexual abuse of women to an attack on "family honor."
The research also revealed that "fear over reputation" is what prevents female victims of sexual assault from reporting their abusers.
While touching on that, Anani explained that the way society views women survivors of sexual abuse continues to follow the typical rhetoric that holds them accountable over the crime that was committed against them.
"This is what prevents so many women from reporting incidents of sexual assault, they fear murder or the tarnishing of their reputation. At ABAAD, this is exactly what we're trying to change through this song and several other awareness campaigns we've launched over the years," she added.
It's time for women in the region to shatter the misogynist norms that have shackled victims of sexual abuse for decades; Not Your Honor is just about that. It's a message to all women in our countries and at the same time a fitting tribute to their sacrifices and incredible strength.
From the rebellious women in Lebanon to the survivors of sexual assault in the Arab world
"Sing it. Scream it. Say it. Share it"
"Solidarity is an important and powerful weapon"
"I am you, I am thousands of rebellious women"
ABAAD's previous campaigns at a glance
ABAAD has been fighting to protect victims of all forms of sexual abuse in Lebanon one powerful social media campaign at a time.
To mark last year's "16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence," the NGO broke the internet with a campaign titled "Men El Felten?" (Arabic for "Shame on Who?")
The video campaign was the result of a social experiment conducted in various areas across Lebanon. The experiment sought to observe the reactions of people upon learning a woman named Manal was raped and left stranded in the streets. Manal played the role of a rape victim in the experiment, however, the reactions filmed were not staged.
"Are you on drugs," one man can be heard saying in the video, completely dismissing the woman's story. Unfortunately, the majority of the reactions from people resorted to victim-blaming and shaming. The experiment does not fail to reflect the reality of things in Lebanon when it comes to rape cases.
The campaign aimed to toughen sanctions against rapists in the country and to change social perceptions that "stigmatize and shame female rape victims, pushing them to cover up the crime."
The organization has worked on campaigns to support victims of incestuous rape in Lebanon and helped repeal a law that protected rapists in the country.
One of the ways it pressured authorities to look into Article 522 of the Lebanese penal code - which previously exonerated a rapist if he or she married their victim - was through yet another successful video campaign.
After years of continuous efforts made by activists including ABAAD, Lebanon's Parliament repealed the law in August 2017.
A year earlier, campaigners at ABAAD made an appearance at the House of Parliament in an effort to encourage lawmakers to abolish the law. Lebanese MP Ghassan Moukheiber said at the time that Parliament has been working to put forward an amendment to the article. However, the NGO rejected any modification to Article 522 and demanded the law be abolished altogether.