BEIRUT: The Lebanese Consulate in Sao Paulo outright rejected a television report about the status of Arab women, particularly in Lebanon, saying the show demonstrated ignorance of the situation in Lebanon.
“The Consulate General of Lebanon in Sao Paulo vehemently condemns the report Globo presented on Sunday 29.6.2014 addressing the situation of women in the Middle East, specifically in Lebanon,” Consul Kabalan Frangieh said in a statement. “The report demonstrates ignorance of the situation of women in Lebanese society, describing them as a man's property subject to all kinds of mistreatment and abuse.”
The show titled “Women are Regarded as the Private Property of a Man in Lebanon” reported that Lebanese women were mistreated with no legal rights or protection. It also called on Brazilian women to refrain from marrying a Lebanese man.
“At first sight, the night of Beirut is very similar to that of Sao Paulo, Rio, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, any large Brazilian city. But upon entering the Lebanese society and understanding it a little bit better, one realizes immediately that women are not satisfied,” the presenter says at the beginning of the report that was shot in Beirut.
At one point, the Brazilian presenter says women in Lebanon lose all their rights as soon as they are married: “It is when some men feel too powerful.” He also notes that laws in Lebanon legitimize men’s power over a women.
The show also promoted misconceptions about Lebanese society, particularly honor killings, which were outlawed in the country two years ago.
In April, Parliament passed a draft law aimed at protecting women from domestic violence and several cases of domestic abuse have received wide media attention in recent months.
“The report, besides blaming religion for the violence, puts Lebanese men on a level of ignorance, cruelty and impunity. What is exceptional and condemnable in any society became during the presentation of the report, an absolute and generalized truth,” the consul said.
“Both the Holy Quran and the Gospel that guide the Lebanese Islamic and Christian Society strongly condemn violence against women and any action of sexual assault, rape or domestic violence is condemned and punished by the Lebanese Civil Code.”
The consul also noted that domestic abuse existed in Western societies and in Brazil, host to one of the largest Lebanese communities in the world, saying that women in Lebanon enjoyed rights similar to their male counterparts.
“For centuries, women ... receive the same rights to health, education and the right to work.”
“The Lebanese women are active in journalism, cinema, theater, literature, sports, diplomacy and political circles, and not at any moment in time women were objects or a property of a man.”
Frangieh expressed concern over the story, which he said was conducted in a sensationalist manner, lacked professional journalist standards and was contrary to the reality in Lebanese society.