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'It's not okay': Lebanese women stand up to sexual harassment Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

'It's not okay': Lebanese women stand up to sexual harassment

Lebanese women are encouraged to share their experiences [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 August, 2017

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Lebanese women are making a stand against sexual harassment with posters, billboards and TV advertisements telling men very clearly: "It's not okay."
You wouldn't think it was necessary to spell out to people, in 2017, that sexual harassment is not okay.

But in Lebanon, like many places around the world, unprovoked comments, obscene gestures and terrifying physical advances from men are a frequent problem – and now these perpetrators are being told, very simply, to stop.

The KIP Project on Gender and Sexuality has launched the Mesh Basita campaign, letting the Lebanese population know that sexual harassment should not be dismissed as part of everyday life but are violations and should be criminalised.

Last year, the KIP Project, based out of the Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut, launched an awareness campaign under the hashtag 'NotYourAshta', raising awareness about harassment in Lebanon. 

In launching its latest campaign, KIP said on website: "In order to confront the idea that sexual harassment is not a serious issue, 'Mesh Basita' stands for the idea that sexual harassment is 'not okay'.

"Offering a double meaning through a message of empowerment, it also suggests that the person is not naïve and that they are taking a stand against harassment. In doing so, the campaign ultimately aims to highlight the need for legislative reform around sexual harassment in Lebanon."

Stickers and posters have appeared around Beirut, and a campaign video to be shown on TV channels and social media, was launched on Thursday.

KIP is also inviting women to use the #mesh_basita hashtag to share their experiences of sexual harassment.

"By gathering voices across sector and discipline, the campaign aims to highlight the pervasiveness of the issue and the need for collective action," KIP said.

Currently, there exists no national legislation specifically confronting sexual harassment in Lebanon.

Within the last few years, draft laws criminalising sexual harassment in public spaces and in the workplace have been prepared and submitted by various bodies, the latest of which is now pending voting by the parliament.

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