Requesting support from the United Nations (UN) for attaining women’s rights in Lebanon the Middle East as adopted in the Beijing Platform.
By: Hana Rustom Archbold.
A. ABOLISHING DOMESTIC ABUSE BY ENFORCING DETERRING LAWS
Most of the problems with domestic violence in Lebanon are stemming from the fact that the country has been residing under a debilitating war that took a huge toll on the economic situation. Poverty and lack of opportunities for work is making it extremely difficult for families to sustain a descent humane standard of living. Men have been predominantly the main source of providing for their families. The lack of opportunity has made it nearly impossible to provide. This problem generated a new phenomenon whereby the husband, the father or the brother resorts to extreme domestic violence against women and children in order to release their frustration. Women and children have become the victims that pay the highest price, their lives.
This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the Lebanese government does not provide any protection by law to a battered woman. They treat this issue as a private and a personal affair between the male and his significant others. This situation is leading to an alarming number of women being killed by their husband in the recent past. Men that end up killing their wives spend few months in jail at best and they get released. Men get released by merely accusing their wives of adultery. The lack of serious punishment is encouraging other men to commit equally heinous crimes.
For the above reasons, we are requesting abolishing domestic violence in all its forms, including but not limited to spousal killing, assault and battery, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, rape, marital rape, and child abandonment or endangerment. We believe punishing spousal killing by enforcing capital punishment will deter other men from committing similar crimes.
Punishing rape, marital rape, or child rape with incarceration without parole for a very long time will save the soul of these victims and diminish the recurrence of such crimes in the future.
B. EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF WOMEN
Many women in our country tend to endure subhuman treatment by their spouses due to the fact that they are not educated enough to be on their own, or they have no family to go back to. Establishing governmental aid to provide shelters for battered women and children is a necessity in order to break the cycle of violence and limit the casualties. Furthermore, we need some United Nation assistance in helping the women get educated and improve their earning power. Educating women and empowering them is critical to building healthy families.
Many able women who are unhappily married cannot get a divorce without spousal acceptance making her a lesser person than her man. Equal rights for men and women. Even when she gets her divorce she will not be able to take care of her children or see them unless her husband approves it. We request that able women get the priority to care for their children especially if the children are minors. Forcing men to pay alimony and child support based on financial laws related to the man’s income.
C. EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS IN FRONT OF THE LAW
A Lebanese man can give his wife and his children the Lebanese citizenship automatically. This is true irrespective of how many times a man marries and divorces. On the other hand, the Lebanese woman cannot give her husband or her children the Lebanese citizenship. This is a huge discrimination between men and women’s rights in our country.
D. PROTECTING CHILDREN RIGTHS AND ELIMINATING CHILD MARRIAGES
Many underage girls who get abducted from their homes end up in the abductor’s hand. The reason is the abductor can claim her as his wife under marriage even if the girl is still a child. This will deprive her parents from pressing charges against a child rapist. We request abolishing child marriages by considering any marriages for women that are under eighteen illegal and unacceptable under the law.
E. ADOPTING CIVIL MARRIAGE AND SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
Most of the problems with marriages in Lebanon stem from the fact that marriage is still done under the religious organization, this leads to complicated laws that are confusing and not conforming. Requesting that marriage becomes a civil issue and should abide by laws of the State and not religion. Marriage should only be considered legal if it is civil marriage. The marriage law will be very clear and all couples irrespective of their religious affiliations abide by the same set of rules.
Author: Hana Rustom Archbold
Title: World Lebanese Cultural Union Social Affair Committee Chairperson