Rayan Iaaly was only 24 years old when she received a fatal blow to the head in a north Lebanon cemetery -the place where she would later be buried. The perpetrator? Her husband, media reports said.
Rayan was a mother of three. The reasons that led to her murder remain mysterious. She was in a coma for a month before succumbing to her wounds two days after Lebanon marked International Women's Day, making her 2017's first registered domestic violence homicide in the country.
Her husband has been arrested and investigations are underway, but Rayan's life is no more.
Today is Mother's Day, and her bereaved family has now taken on the responsibility of caring for her youngest child. They are in mourning, and are facing personal loss and financial difficulties. They need all the help they can get.
"For those who can support them, please transfer what you can to the bank account created by the family for this purpose (details of the account in the picture). Sharing this post will also help us reach as many people as possible, with hopes of providing some support for Rayan's baby and family (and hopefully her two boys once their custody status gets clearer)," a post shared by KAFA (Enough! Violence and Exploitation), a woman's rights NGO reads.
Domestic violence in Lebanon is still a reality. According to reports, almost half of the Lebanese population has known or encountered a victim of domestic violence.
Maya Ammar, a communications officer for KAFA, says the NGO dealt with almost 3000 cases of domestic violence in 2016 alone.
On average, 8 to 9 deaths resulting from family violence are reported in the media each year.
"In 2016, 5 women were killed and there were three suspected suicides," Ammar told StepFeed.
"Six women were killed between August and December of 2015," she said.
Domestic violence crimes over the past few years stirred calls for Lebanon to pass a domestic violence bill. In 2014, law No. 293, dubbed the Law on Protection of Women and Family Members from Domestic Violence, was adopted by the Lebanese Parliament.
Despite its flaws, the law legislated new mechanisms to address family violence. Nonetheless it failed to protect women adequately, activists said.
The law defines domestic violence narrowly, and thus does not provide adequate protection from all forms of abuse. It is defined as “an act, act of omission, or threat of an act committed by any family member against one or more family members... related to one of the crimes stipulated in this law, and that results in killing, harming, or physical, psychological, sexual, or economic harm," Human Rights Watch said.
"One of the law’s main shortcomings is that it fails to specifically criminalize marital rape, which is not a crime under other Lebanese law."
Lebanese women are still unequal under the law. Aside from marital rape, women often find themselves on the short end of the gavel when it comes to divorce and custody cases, as rulings are often dictated by religious courts.
“Parliament should fix the domestic violence law without delay, and develop a national strategy to implement the law,” HRW said.
“But parliament members shouldn’t stop there. They also need to reform the personal status laws that often enable such violence.”