Abaad incest rape campaign
"When the rapist is from the victim's family, we demand the life sentence for him and life for her." Source: Facebook/abaadmena

Soon after it helped abolish a law that protected rapists, non-profit organization ABAAD is back with a new campaign that supports victims of incestuous rape in Lebanon.

Titled #LifeforLife (#المؤبد_إلو_الحياة_إلها), the campaign demands that legislator impose a life sentence on those who sexually assault their own family members. 

"Based on extensive field work and research, ABAAD has decided to bring the topic of incestuous rape out of the shadows and shatter the taboo surrounding it in order ensure that all offenders are brought to justice," ABAAD told StepFeed in an email. 

The Beirut-based organization, which aims to achieve gender equality in the MENA region, launched #LifeforLife in collaboration with the National Commission For Lebanese Women and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

The campaign calls for the introduction of a law that imposes the life sentence on those who commit incestuous rape.

In addition to an online petition, the campaign includes an emotionally-charged short film that demonstrates the parallel lives of a rapist and his victim.

"He should get the life sentence, so I can get my life back," the character playing the victim says in the film.

49% of rape cases in Lebanon are committed by a close family member

According to ABAAD, 1 in 4 women in Lebanon are subject to sexual assault.

49 percent of these sexual assault cases are committed by close family members, which is undoubtedly a cause for alarm.

As it stands, the sentence for incestuous rape in Lebanon amounts to roughly five years.

Speaking to Al Jadeed TV, ABAAD founder and legal advisor Danielle Howeik revealed that the Lebanese penal code does not include a specific article concerning incestuous rape.

"[The current penalty] is by no means proportionate to the heinous crime at hand, allowing the rapist to run free and robbing the victims of their life instead," ABAAD explained. 

The organization is thus calling for a tougher penalty "for the rapist to get a life sentence and the victim to get her life back."

Apart from pressuring lawmakers, ABAAD hopes to raise awareness on the matter and encourage victims to speak up and report their predators.

ABAAD needs your help. Sign its petition here:

To gain momentum and impose pressure on legislators, ABAAD is asking people to sign an online petition in support of the campaign. The petition can be found here

ABAAD recently helped abolish the controversial Article 522

In August 2017, Lebanon's Parliament repealed Article 522 of the Lebanese penal code, which dismissed rape charges if a rapist marries his victim. 

This was thanks to the efforts of activists, including ABAAD, who launched a massive and haunting awareness campaign in an effort to bring the controversial rape law to an end.

In 2016, 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. 

But, ABAAD rejected any modification to Article 522, demanding the law be abolished altogether.