BEIRUT — On Wednesday, Lebanon’s parliament abolished a law that absolves rapists if they marry their victims, joining other Arab states that have repealed “marry-your-rapist” laws in recent weeks.
Lawmaker Elie Kayrouz, who backed ending the law – article 522 of the penal code – said other clauses also required changes to protect women and children.
Marital rape and child marriage remain legal in Lebanon.
Jordan abolished a similar marriage loophole this month, and Tunisia passed a law in July to protect women against violence ,which included scrapping a similar clause.
Egypt abolished its law in 1999, and Morocco repealed it in 2014 after the suicide of a 16-year-old girl and the attempted suicide of a 15-year-old forced to marry their rapists.
“Today, we want to congratulate the women of Lebanon,” said lawyer Danielle Howayek, from the Beirut-based women’s rights group Abaad.
Howayek said there was still a long way to go for Lebanese law to protect women, but getting rid of the “marry-your-rapist” provision – which dates back to 1943 – marked a major step.
Abaad has lobbied against the law for months, plastering the streets with billboards of women in bloodied and torn bridal gowns. “A white dress doesn’t cover up rape,” the images say.