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Combating sexual harassment in Lebanon

14-11-2017

In its Thursday’s edition, Al Hayat newspaper brought to light the phenomenon of sexual harassment in Lebanon pointing to several civil and government-led initiatives to counter it. One of these initiatives, is the #MeToo hashtag which spread virally on social media. A number of Lebanese women related their experience with sexual assault at the workplace, on the streets, in taxis and public transport buses. Also, the ministry of state for women affairs in August launched the #Mesh Basita campaign stating that sexual harassment is not okay. Under this hashtag, young Rachel commented on Facebook saying: “I have to keep pepper spray with me because of the many terrible experiences in taxicabs.” Another group of activists kicked off the #harasstracker initiative in March 2016, a platform to report and document sexual harassment. On this campaign, Nay Rahi told Al Hayat that the issue is not about the prevalence of sexual harassment but it’s normalization. Harassment is seen as an integral part of women’s experiences in the public space, hence should be dismissed. In conclusion, Al Hayat recalled the early start of these initiatives in Lebanon back in 2010, the ‘speak out, don’t hide’ (takkalami wala takhjali) campaign. (Al Hayat, November 9, 2017)

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