Photo: Gabrielle Bou Rached, Miss Lebanon 2005-2006
In what a leading Lebanese women’s rights group sarcastically alluded to as a sick April Fool’s Day joke, the Lebanese Parliament passed what is officially an updated domestic violence protection act. But that legislative body seems to have skipped all the legalistic verbiage outlawing marital rape, effectively legalizing the act, as reported by the human rights news portal The Clarion Project on April 2, 2014.
Now a minority but once recognized for centuries as one of the very few Christian nations in the Middle East (mostly Maronite-Rite Catholics) as well as a beacon of Western civilization in the region, the Lebanese Republic has just taken another step closer to Islamic Shari’a Law due to pressure from Islamist members of parliament.
Initially entitled “Violence Against Women” in 2007 by the women’s rights organization KAFA (loosely translated: “Enough Violence and Exploitation“), the parliament has since changed the title to “Violence Against the Family,” but the changes don’t end there.
The proposed legislation “was amended to remove a clause criminalizing the act of marital rape (instead, it criminalizes only the threat of marital rape). Another amendment took out all references to forced marriage.”
KAFA organizer Faten Abou Chakra stated:
It was just theatre. In two minutes the law was approved without any of the requested amendments. This law is distorted and will not guarantee real protection for women.
The Reuters news agency also cited that “another [amendment] introduces the spousal right to sexual intercourse, a move which critics say essentially legalises marital rape.”