In partnership with Nasawiya, SMEX and its MADskills training participants hosted a Tweetup on Monday evening to raise awareness of sexual harassment in Lebanon. Held at Tawlet restaurant in Beirut, the event featured presentations from Nasawiya volunteers (@farfahinne, @myrz_m, and non-tweeting Nessreen) on the prevalence of sexual harassment in Lebanon. It was organized as a training tweetup for the current cohort of 40 MADskills training participants from around Lebanon. About 30 people attended, and two participants made the trip all the way from Saida and Sour.
A particular focus was Nasawiya’s “Adventures of Salwa” campaign, which uses animated videos and other tactics to guide women in dealing with sexual harassment at work, in public, and anywhere else it may occur.
Participants donned nametags bearing their Twitter accounts upon entering the restaurant, and many live tweeted their thoughts and impressions throughout the event. Comments streamed down the Twitterfall set up to track the #endsh and #madski11s hashtags. @ElissaShamma, who attended in person, captured one of the night’s themes in a tweet: “It is true in Lebanon there is no law to protect the victims bt that’s why we should work on making ppl talk.” She was referring to the point made that Lebanon lacks adequate laws protecting victims of sexual harassment. Several others tweeted in about related issues from Tripoli, Bekaa, and elsewhere. @mahmoudlayla, attending online, responded to a tweet observing that men were asking the most questions, explaining “Because we want to know how does it feel…w kamen to support w ma t2ulu 2a3din sektin :P.”
Encouraging open discussion about sexual harassment is one of Nasawiya’s and the Salwa campaign’s goals. The Tweetup demonstrated how social media like Twitter can provide a forum for such discussion. SMEX and MADskills will be planning similar events in the near future, so keep an eye on our blog, Facebook Page, and Twitter account!