NAYA| Revisiting Law 505: How far have we come on the discussion of rape?

"A country in which rape is justified doesn’t grant women complete freedom."
by Manal Makkieh and Nassab Helal

19 December 2019 | 14:35

Source: by Annahar

From ABAAD's 2016 campaign related to Article 522 of the Lebanese Law. (Photo courtesy of ABAAD).

BEIRUT: Inspite of some amendments that have been done on numerous Lebanese laws related to women, a number of loopholes still exist. These contribute to what ABAAD referred to "the criminaliziation of sexual violence in the legal system."

In light of this, ABAAD organized a session to evaluate multiple laws that leave women unsettled despite their amendments on December 17. 

Dannielle Hawik, a lawyer at ABAAD, presented an incisive look on particular laws that were originally formulated to protect women in Lebanon. Hawik also compared how these laws were before the amendment and how they became after the amendment. She also presented how far have these laws come. One of the discussed laws was Law 505. 

Before its amendment, the law stated that a rapist who commits his crime with a person under 15 years of age will be punished by temporary hard labor. Additionally, the punishment entailed a minimum of five years of prison if the rapist committed his crime with a child who is less than 12 years old. Any rape crime committed with a person above the age of fifteen is entitled to two months to two years of prison.

After its amendment, Law 505 now mentions that a rapist who commits his crime with a person under 15 years old will be punished by temporary hard labor for not less than five years and the punishment shall not be less than seven years if the child is younger than 12 years old. The law was not changed for rape crimes committed with victims above the age of 15.

Hawik also highlighted an important point that was added to the law after its amendment specific to Article 522, which was abolished in 2016. She explained that if a marriage takes place between the rapist and the victim, the judge shall instruct a social assistant to submit a report on the psychological and social status of the minor after marriage for three years. which emphasized how social workers and social assistants play a vital role in understanding the minor's psycho-social state as well as report to the same judge transparent and unrecognized events that might be hint to the judge that the marriage should be ended. 

“We tend to overlook the psychological effects that rape leaves and focus solely on physical damage. A country in which rape is justified doesn’t grant women complete freedom. We should address mental health first and foremost,” Hawik told Annahar.

During the event, other laws on rape, seduction, labyrinth, and violations of women's places were also debated and compared by not only Dannielle Hawik, but also other team members at ABAAD.

“Rape victims are ironically always at fault. It’s either her clothes, going out at night, or the way she’s acting. Society, sadly, always finds a way to exonerate the rapist,” an attendee mentioned.

Commenting on this, Hawik explained that “people have the mentality and ability to help, but directly succumb to the traditions and labels our society places on these rape victims, a reason that makes them hesitant to offer support for women."

“We want the Lebanese youth to be well-informed about the laws regarding rape as well as their amendments over the years. At this point, we highly encourage everyone to visit ABAAD’s website and read all about the amendments and stay updated on laws related to women in Lebanon,” Dannielle Hawik told Annahar.

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Welcome to "NAYA," the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. NAYA is devoted to women of all generations-NAYA Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.farhat@annahar.com.lb

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