A White Dress Does Not Cover the Rape was a national campaign that aimed to abolish Article 522 of the Lebanese penal code. The latter allowed men, who had been convicted of sexual assault, abduction, or statutory rape against a woman, to avoid penalty of no less than five years of hard labor if a valid contract of marriage could be provided. The article was considered as blatant discrimination against women and girls.
ABAAD’s campaign began in September of 2016, but was officially launched during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November to 10 December 2016). The campaign consisted of a series of creative advocacy activities, highlighting the human rights violation of forcing a woman or girl to marry her rapist. The campaign aimed to mobilize public awareness to strengthen legislation that protects women and girls from sexual violence and exploitation in Lebanon, while spurring change in social norms to adequately respond to sexual violations.
On 7 December 2016, Lebanon’s Parliamentary Committee for Administration and Justice announced their recommendation to repeal Article 522. The awareness campaign grew rapidly, with millions of people globally supporting the cause. The campaign resulted in a historical vote of the Lebanese parliament repealing article 522 on 16 June 2017.