Why do refugee women from Syria in Lebanon face constant sexual harassment and exploitation?
Many refugee women from Syria tell us they don’t feel safe in Lebanon. Here are four reasons why, and three possible solutions.
1. Women are doubly at risk: both as refugees, and because of their gender
Amnesty recently interviewed 77 refugee women from Syria in Lebanon. Some told us that Lebanese men offer them money or help in exchange for sex, knowing that most refugees live in deep poverty. Others said they had been threatened, including with weapons. Almost all the women we spoke to said they are constantly sexually harassed in public – by neighbours, bus and taxi drivers, strangers in the street - sometimes even by police officers and government employees.
“I feel threatened financially, psychologically and emotionally. My life pattern has changed. The way I do my hair has changed and I have to dress differently. Everyone approaches me to go with them in exchange for money. [Once] I was almost kidnapped. [Another time] someone said that they would give me money for rent in return for marriage. I say to them: ‘Who gives you the right to speak to me like this?’”