News / Middle East

Lebanon Feminist Group Mounts Anti-Harassment Campaign

Lebanese cartoon character Salwa encourages women to speak out against sexual harassment
Lebanese cartoon character Salwa encourages women to speak out against sexual harassment

Multimedia

Paige Kollock

A group of Lebanese activists is concerned about the sexual harassment of women in Lebanon, and with the invention of a mascot named Salwa, they hope to teach women to fight back.  Not only does the campaign urge women to speak out against abuse, it educates them about how to recognize it.

Salwa, a cartoon character, is a free-spirited, yet strong Lebanese woman.  She does not let anyone take advantage of her, and is the star of an anti-harassment campaign developed by IndyAct, the Lebanese League of Independent Activists.  

Farah Salka works for the feminist group Nasawiya and is helping to develop the Salwa campaign. She says sexual harassment is rampant in her country.

"I've been harassed.  Everybody has been harassed.  A typical woman on the streets in Lebanon, whether Lebanese or not, has been harassed," said Salka.  "It can come from strangers or it can come from parents, from friends, from a boyfriend, from a husband."

Activists in Lebanon are holding sexual harassment awareness workshops.  Their aim, along with the Salwa campaign, is to teach women to recognize sexual harassment and talk about it.

Women in Lebanon are often pressured not to report sexual harassment, says Mirna Haidar. She says she was harassed when she was 16.

"The problem was not the sexual harassment itself, but was the people's reaction, everyone around me and supervising me and even when I went to my mom, it was like 'Shhh, don't talk about it.'   And that was the part that made me feel shocked, traumatized," said Haidar.

There are no published statistics on sexual harassment cases in Lebanon, nor is there any real legal protection, says Noushig Etyemezian of the non-governmental Foundation for Human and Humanitarian Rights in Lebanon.  

"For sexual harassment, you don't have laws," noted Etyemezian.  "Even if you go to the police station, in Lebanon and in the region, the woman is to be blamed.  'Aw, you provoked, what did you do, what were you wearing', or they will just laugh at you."  

IndyAct is trying to change those attitudes. Salka says Salwa Adventures will soon be publicized on TV and in newspapers, and activists plan to lobby government for anti-harassment legislation.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid