Marriage loopholes in rape cases are not unique to the Arab world, though countries in the region are among the last to retain them in their penal codes. The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, still has a marry-your-rapist loophole, according to an 82-country survey by Equality Now, a women’s rights group. Until 2006, so did Uruguay, and until 1994, so did France, according to Human Rights Watch.
If the Lebanese law is repealed, it will be “a moral victory,” said Maya Ammar, a spokeswoman for Kafa, a Lebanese group that works with domestic violence survivors. More survivors will have to file charges, she said, instead of settling it privately. “These are cases that are not discussed in public,” she said. “They all happen in silence.”