The Adventures of Salwa, a grassroots campaign against sexual harassment
Launched by a group of young feminist activists, The Adventures of Salwa campaign was built around Salwa, a 2D animated character who uses her red bag to fight sexual harassment in different situations, but went beyond awareness raising videos to include discussion groups, research, protests and street actions, a sexual harassment help hotline, and a draft law.
Salwa’s short videos were based on scenarios taken from the non-mixed women’s discussion groups the group organized in feminist spaces, universities, and high schools. These were opportunities for young women to share their experiences, deconstruct sexual harassment, and to “break the taboo and start talking about it”.
In 2012, Salwa collaborated with the Legal Agenda to develop and submit a draft law criminalizing sexual harassment.
Inspired by Egypt’s Harassmap, the campaign linked to a collaborative map QawemeHarassment where people could pinpoint instances of sexual harassment on a map. At the time, mobile internet in Lebanon was not as prevailent as it was in Egypt and the map lost traction. In 2016 a new map, Harasstracker, was launched by another group and is still functioning.
The campaign was hosted under IndyAct for a while and then under Nasawiya after the group was formed and received support from the Embassy of the Netherlands to help fund the production of the videos, research, and cover lawyers’ fees for the draft law.