Cannes Lions

Dirty Laundry

LEO BURNETT, Beirut / ABAAD RESOURCE CENTER FOR GENDER EQUALITY / 2024

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AN UNFORTUNATE CULTURALLY-INSPIRED INSIGHT

“Don’t air your dirty laundry”.

It's a colloquial Lebanese expression that means:

“Don’t speak of shameful matters, particularly, of rape.”

In 2022, ABAAD conducted a study that found 60% of women who are raped don’t report it because of honor. And without a law that adequately punishes rapists, rape survivors are left with nowhere to turn for protection or justice.

To substantiate our advocacy campaign in amending the law to protect survivors, we had to stop society’s shaming and blaming towards them - to end the notion of women’s raped bodies being dirty laundry.

Changing this entrenched taboo required an approach that not only disrupts the public’s rape-shaming attitude, but sparks engagement and dialogue around rape’s severity. To break the silence, we decided to spread “dirty laundry” in open air, provoking people to watch it, grabbing media platforms' attention to air it further, and turning lawmakers' eyes to changing the law.

A BOLD AND ACTIONABLE CREATIVE STRATEGY:

"Raped bodies are not dirty laundry."

To pressure lawmakers into increasing rape crime sentences, ABAAD’s advocacy campaign demanded they treat rape as a serious crime that needs a serious sentence.

But if it was treated and seen as dirty laundry that shouldn't be displayed or washed in public, then we needed to break the deafening silence around rape.

We wanted to abolish the belief that rape is the survivor’s fault.

And we wanted to stop the societal taboo that rape stories are too shameful to be spoken about.

We set out to bring this idea to life through partnering with 2 key female influencers in Lebanon who were known for being vocal about inequalities and prejudices in what tends to be a patriarchal society.

A PROVOCATIVE EXECUTION:

We co-created a spoken word film with a popular influential artist known for taking on prejudices - Remie Akl.

Women were literally hung on clotheslines, illustrating the absurdity of raped bodies being “dirty laundry” to be hidden and silenced.

The first anti-rape manifesto of its kind from the Middle East.

Inspired from the manifesto, Nour Arida, Lebanon’s famous international model, popular as someone who posts beauty-related content, shook social media, using her 16 million followers to propagate rape survivors’ voices. Hosting a web series with ABAAD, she boldly showcased stories of "dirty laundry". Four brave survivors told their heart-wrenching stories and engaged in intimately raw discussions with Nour Arida and psychologists.

Inspired from the manifesto, many influencers continued supporting ABAAD's advocacy efforts on-ground with survivors and activists. They carried their bodies and “dirty laundry” to the Lebanese Parliament, demanding, in the faces of lawmakers and media, to make the sentence for rape as serious as the crime.

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2 Cannes Lions Awards
Dirty Laundry

LEO BURNETT, Beirut

Dirty Laundry

2023, ABAAD RESOURCE CENTER FOR GENDER EQUALITY

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