BEIRUT: On May 21, ABAAD hosted a reception at Beit Beirut to celebrate the success of “A White Dress Doesn’t Cover the Rape #Undress522” campaign, which won the UN SDG Award for the most impactful campaign globally.
The UN SDG Action Awards acknowledge the most brilliant leaders or leading NGOs working innovatively on SDG advocacy to advance the global movement for the Sustainable Development Goals. One of the categories is granted to the most impactful communications campaign that works on raising awareness about the SDGs and people's role in SDG action.
Founder and Director of ABAAD Ghida Anani, received the trophy during the award ceremony on May 2 in Bonn, Germany.
“Out of 2000 participants and 124 countries, Lebanon was among the three finalists. The competition wasn’t easy; our small country was competing against the Australian and African continents in the finals,” Anani said. “However, what boosted my confidence and toughened my efforts was the voice of every woman who told us her story and seeked shelter in our organization.”
Attendees of the celebration included press, civil society organizations, local governments and others who are taking action to advance the 2030 Agenda of UN SDG goals across a range of categories.
“One of the hardest responsibilities in the world is to hold the pain, the hardships, and the dreams of vulnerable individuals. The manipulated women who lost their rights and who thirst for justice were the reason behind the founding of ABAAD and the cause of every campaign we embark on,” said Anani.
Anani added that the organization will keep on putting the effort to fight more laws that discriminate against women.
“The campaign was one successful station and we aim to abolish more laws that violate women’s rights,” Anani added. “The journey doesn’t stop here; our political and social work will continue to empower all the women out there.”
“A White Dress Does Not Cover the Rape #Undress522" is a national campaign that was launched by ABAAD with the aim of abolishing Article 522 of the Lebanese Penal code. Article 522 allowed men, who had been convicted of committed sexual assault, abduction, or statutory rape against a woman, to avoid penalty of no less than five years of hard labor by marrying their victim.
The campaign, which started in September 2016, targeted the mobilization of public awareness to strengthen legislation in aim of protecting women and girls from sexual violence and exploitation in Lebanon.
However, it was officially launched during the “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence”-between November 25 and December 10, 2016. During this period, a series of advocacy activities were conducted. The strategy was based on dialogue with political stakeholders, advocacy based on evidence, and public opinion campaigns.
Consequently, the campaign had a broad reach and eventually resulted in a historical vote in the Lebanese parliament that revoked article 522 on Thursday, June 16, 2017.
“ABAAD is making a huge impact when it comes to gender equality and is raising awareness so that every woman knows her rights and fights for them,” said Maya Frem, one of the participants. “It makes me safe to know that such an organization has our back and raises the voices of women.”
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