The abolishment of the Lebanese marriage loophole – article 522. A qualitative social movement study that analyses and explores Lebanese women’s movement advocacy towards legislative changes and social change related to gender equality
Sammanfattning: In Lebanon, women have a long history of organizing and working towards equal legislationfor all, just as in other countries around the world. After several rounds of advocacy by actorsfrom the Lebanese women's movement, the gender-discriminating article 522 from the penalcode was abolished in the year 2017. Before its abolished from the Lebanese penal code,article 522 would allow a person who has committed rape, abduction or statutory rape to befree from prosecution or suspended from conviction if he married the girl or woman. At thesame time as Article 522 was abolished in 2017, the marriage loophole was re-embeddedunder article 505, which includes sex with a 15-year-old minor, as well as article 518, whichdeals with the seduction of a minor with the promise of marriage (BBC, 2017). However,many considered the initial abolition as an essential first step towards gender equal legislationin the Lebanese context. This study aims at understanding how actors from Lebanesewomen’s movement advocate for legislative changes by analysing their process of abolishingarticle 522. To achieve this understanding, social movement theory has been applied toanalyse stories that were collected through semi-structured interviews with seven femaleinformants from the Lebanese women’s rights NGO’s ABAAD, KAFA, LECORVAW andLCW. The study showed that the actors involved shared different opinions on how theproblem with article 522 should be framed and that the overall process had been far fromlinear, as the Lebanese women’s movement encountered many threats and obstacles. Thedelay of the Lebanese government and the sectarian interference with the implementation ofgender equality legislation are a few examples.
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