Beirut, Lebanon (CNN)"I've been raped," Manal Issa shouts as she staggers down a street in Beirut.
Rape survivors are fighting back against victim-blaming in Lebanon
A crowd gathers around the woman who appears disoriented and frantic. Some people encourage her to "calm down" and "keep it quiet." Others scold her for wearing a mini-skirt. One man accuses her of being a drug addict.
Manal is an actor in a social experiment organized by the Lebanese women's rights group ABAAD last month. During the nine or so hours when Manal emulated a rape victim, not a single bystander called the police.
The aim of the experiment -- part of a weeks-long campaign called #ShameOnWho -- was to expose the stigma attached to rape victims, activists say.
"In general, people think that she's the loose one, she's the one to blame and she's the one who should be held accountable," says ABAAD's founder Ghida Anani.
"We're trying to encourage women who are survivors of rape to speak up, to get out from the cycle and culture of victim-blaming," says Anani.
Despite concerted movements by Lebanese civil society to tackle gender-based violence, the problem is growing. In 1994, 30% of women in Lebanon said they experienced some form of violence, according to United Nations figures. Today that figure is closer to 60%, according to data compiled by ABAAD from various ministries, the police and media reporting.
It's unclear if the increase in claims is due to a greater willingness to report the violence or an actual rise in the number of attacks or a mix of both, Anani says.
But activists have pushed hard against the trend. Awareness campaigns promoting gender equity are prominent and hard-hitting, and activists have kept up sustained pressure on government to introduce legislation to protect women.
In 2014, Lebanon's parliament passed its first-ever law criminalizing domestic violence. In 2017, it repealed a legal loophole that acquitted rapists who marry their victims. Still, Lebanon's penal code has some way to go. No minimum legal age for marriage exists in the country and marital rape remains legal.
In five Beirut locations, artists volunteering with ABAAD have painted black and white murals of rapists' faces, sketched out from the memories of the survivors.
"These are wanted men," says Anani. "Today, the spotlight should be on the people who are doing this kind of behavior and not those who are subject to it."
Not yet willing to step out of the shadows, survivors are speaking out through artists and activists.
One woman, identified as Reham, recorded her story on an audio file. Reham was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her older brother from the age of 8 to 28. When she finally spoke up, her mother called her a "liar."
Sitting on a chair in a sparsely furnished room, actress Hiba Sleiman listens to Reham's recording through an ear piece, retelling the moment of confrontation between mother and daughter.
"I wouldn't be able to tell you how she tore off my hijab, how she tore off my clothes and inspected me from head to toe while she beat me and insulted me repeatedly. When it was over, I said 'did you get what you wanted?' ... I carried my torn clothes and cried and screamed, and cried and screamed. And nobody heard me."
Hiba describes audiences going from room to room at Zico House, a cultural center in Beirut, listening to six actors tell survivors' stories as part of an immersive play, organized by #ShameOnWho.
"It was moving. It was intense. A lot of people cried. Some people couldn't watch all of the scenes. Some people walked out of specific scenes in the middle of them," says Hiba.
"We don't have the space for telling these stories so often. We hear these stories on Facebook, or on TV but we never really encounter these people in our lives."
But Lebanon's civil society appears determined to give women a larger platform and counter social practices perceived as sexist.
Last month, women's rights activists called for the boycott of the television channel MTV Lebanon after it aired an interview with Mohammed al-Nheily, the husband and convicted killer of 33-year-old Manal Assi, in a program on Lebanese prisoners called Out of Freedom. Activists criticized what they said was an overly sympathetic portrayal of the man who bludgeoned Assi to death. In his tearful interview, Nheily said he "regretted" the 2014 murder and longed to "turn back time so that neither (he) nor Manal had done wrong."