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Lebanese lawmakers, make it a priority to protect women

Growing up in Lebanon, I always felt that some men and women assumed ownership over me

Octavia Nasr

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Growing up in Lebanon, I always felt that some men and women assumed ownership over me, my body, my thought, even my feelings and my expression. I despised these people who existed everywhere, in families, government, school, and religious establishments. They were constantly clashing with other men and women who wanted me to thrive and to be “me” in all its possibilities.

Growing up in Lebanon, I always felt that some men and women assumed ownership over me, my body, my thought, even my feelings and my expression. I despised these people who existed everywhere, in families, government, school, and religious establishments. They were constantly clashing with other men and women who wanted me to thrive and to be “me” in all its possibilities.

I have seen men and women act as if they own women by controlling them fully or partially. It was painful as I could barely shield myself of that servitude and slavery.

I have known women who sold themselves willingly and others who did the same under a different guise, also known as denial. The sale price was sometimes very cheap; at other times very high, if you measure “price” by hard currency or materials.

Underestimated, undervalued

I have seen us, women, suffer more because of our natural build, working harder, putting more effort to be heard, seen, felt or simply included. But, as a group, we always ended up underestimated, undervalued. It doesn’t always take a male to do that to us, women hurt women too. Sometimes, we hurt ourselves the most as we try to fit in a merciless patriarchal society.

Growing up in Lebanon, I always felt that some men and women assumed ownership over me

Octavia Nasr

It is abominable that despite women’s indispensable contributions, women still fight for their existence, and some lose the battle in their homes alone or in front of a silent audience.

Anyone who belittles a woman, or hurts a woman or insults a woman or appoints himself an advocate or dictator of rules of conduct for a woman is retarded no matter who he is or what his rank is.

From the beginning of times, women led, fought and lived alongside men. They participated in war and peace, they governed, they philosophized, but they faded through history as they gave more life. That same life marginalized women and continues to do so in many places around the world.

I am ashamed of Lebanese lawmakers who don’t make it a priority to protect women and fight for their human rights and civil liberties. This country will not be saved by extremism and backwardness. Nor will it be saved by superficiality and idiocy. It will not be saved as long as we allow one woman to die at the hands of a spouse.

Shame on all who don’t send a message to every violent man out there that we will not let this happen again!

This article was first published in al-Nahar on Feb. 24, 2014.

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Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.