Protest for Roula

We were around 120-150 people to join the protest calling for justice for Roula on Sunday the 21st of July. People of all walks of life asking for the obvious, demanding that Roula’s parents receive some ounce of peace after being deprived of their own daughter, some coming from Beirut (myself included) and some even coming from the south, remind us that Lebanon is not apathetic to what goes on within its borders.

The following pictures were taken by myself under a Creative Commons License.

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“I haven’t died, but many have” reads the recent awareness campaign by KAFA, the Lebanese NGO that tackles gender-related abuses in Lebanon. Many indeed.

The recent death of Roula Yaacoub, murdered by her abusive husband, is yet another grim reminder of Lebanon’s grim record on handling cases of domestic abuses. While no official reports are available, KAFA’s Ghida Anani estimates that “around 75% of all Lebanese women have suffered physical abuse at the hands of husbands or male relatives at some point in their lives.”

Such statistics may be considered excessive, but let’s not forget that around 500 women seek help at women’s centers in Lebanon every year, and that only includes those that are willing to come out. We all know that domestic abuse is too often seen as either justified (the husband has the right to beat his wife or sister or daughter) or something which ought not to be discussed openly (it bring shame to the family, or to the husband).

Instead of having one court that deals with crimes such as physical, sexual and psychological abuse in domestic setting, we have 15 religious courts with their own laws. And as one would except, women are always victims of such laws. To name but a few, the legal age to get married is lower for women than men, and lower for Muslim woman than Christian woman; and most importantly, marital rape and honor killings are often overlooked, causing profound psychological or physical damage to victims and their loved ones.

Roula Yaacoub (Facebook)
Roula Yaacoub (Facebook)

Protest for Roula

Roula Yaacoub, 33, was an only child and mother of five daughters. Her husband, Karam Bazi, “constantly beat” her and their two eldest daughters (around 12 years old). Her doctor reported that Roula suffered, and I translate, “the rupture of an artery in the cervical region responsible for breathing and movement”. 

Today, Roula is dead and Karam is quite free, with the 5 girls. L’Orient-Le-Jour even reported (French) that politicians of Roula’s region apparently intervened on behalf of Bazi, completely disregarding complaints by the mother and the two eldest daughters. 

In response to this horrific injustice, activists are calling on all Lebanese to go down to Halba Square, Akkar on the 21st of July.

Here is the Facebook event.

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8 thoughts on “Protest for Roula

  1. This is frustrating, tragic, and horrendous. It’s 2013, people! What is the matter with everyone??

    I remember a conversation I had with a friend who told me that at least Lebanon isn’t as “backwards” as other Arab countries. I disagreed very adamantly. Why? Because of crap like this!

    I hope those girls get away from their poor excuse for a father, and fast. Change is needed, drastic change, and soon.

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