Violence Against Women Issue

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Issu e # 004/ 18 | Special Edition on VAW G

Domesti c A buse i n Pak i stan

M andy Sangh era

Breaking t he Silence

Raising Women from t he St icky Floor

Surv i v or Stori es

Roh in gyas: Th e Ref u gee Cr ises & VAWG

On Freedom From V i ol ence Emancipat ing t he Aust ralian Woman

On Hex es, Wi tch ery & Women

On Human Traf f i ck i ng

Hom elessn ess & Wom en

Cyber Harassment & Women

Ph yllis Ch esler A Polit ically In cor r ect Fem in ist on Pat r iar ch y, Violen ce in t h e 21st Cen t u r y

Con ten ts Edit or 's Message I nt er views Sur vivor St or ies Opinion I n Focus

THE TEA M Sabi n M uzaf f ar Executive Editor M el ani e Bubl yk Editor-at-Large

Fr om th e Editor

M andy Sangh era Key Collaborator Contri butors Terry Murithi Debi Stevens Betty Mbithi Sumaiya Nantambi

Contact medi a@anank w w w .anank A nank e i s a sub si di ary of TreeHouse Consul tancy. Copyi ng & pl agi ari sm of any sort i s stri ctl y proh i bi ted. For use of any content, contact us on th e gi v en emai l .

Sabin Muzaffar


arking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Team Ananke presents its special edition focusing on issues of violence and abuse that stem from patriarchal mindset ? an offshoot of feudal belief systems, illiteracy and hegemonic power play. Our vision is to highlight not just survivor stories and information pertaining to Violence Against Women, but also to showcase the immense body of work ? activists, human rights agencies and initiatives have undertaken and created safe spaces for women and girls. While facts are sobering, it still is encouraging to witness and be a part of change. This issue includes a broad, intersectional spectrum of in-depth articles, enlightening interviews, data and information on topics ranging from Second Wave Feminism, violence and disabilities, the Rohingya Women, Human Trafficking, Female Homelessness and Domestic Violence, Witchcraft and Abuse and more.

Phyllis Chesler A Pol i ti cal l y I ncorrect Femi ni st

Aut hor, professor and a Second Wave Feminist leader, Phyllis Chesler exclusively chat s w it h Sabin Muzaffar about her amazing life?s journey and her latest book.

worldwide, most women were illiterate, impoverished, and forced to marry men not of their choosing when they themselves were still children. As girls, they were expected to meet impossibly high standards of subordinate behavior--and, if they failed to do so, they risked severe punishment. Their lives were far more difficult and endangered than American women's lives. Six years after I escaped, I became a feminist activist and leader. Eight years later I obtained a Ph.D in Psychology. I

Wou ld you say t h e cou r se of you r lif e h as h ad a gr eat im pact on you r vision an d per spect ive? We w ou ld love t o k n ow f r om you h ow you r lif e's jou r n ey st ar t ed as a f em in ist ? Like many other American feminists, I was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements--but unlike most feminists, I had "once lived in a harem in Afghanistan." This is the opening sentence of my book An American Bride in Kabul. I had married my college sweetheart and traveled to Afghanistan for what I thought would be a brief but adventurous interlude. Officials removed my American passport when we landed and I never saw it again.

co-pioneered the study of violence against women in the late 1960s. I focused on women living in North America and Europe who had been psychiatrically diagnosed and hospitalized; were the victims of rape, I lived with my mother-in-law in a sexual harassment, incest, intimate partner polygamous household in rather posh battering, pornography and prostitution. purdah; this meant I was not allowed out without a male escort. My father-in-law I also documented the double standards had three wives and twenty-one and anti-woman biases which led to good children--facts my Westernized husband mothers losing custody of children to failed to mention during our long abusive fathers and husbands; women American college courtship. I saw women sentenced to long or life prison terms when in burqas stumbling around on the they killed batterers in self-defense; and the streets of Kabul and I saw how they were violence women faced as they fought for forced quite literally to sit at the back of their reproductive, educational, economic, political, and religious rights around the the bus world. .Thus, I was aware early on that

My generation of feminists believed in universal human rights. We were not multi-cultural relativists. We called out misogyny when we saw it and did not exempt a rapist, a wife-beater, or a pedophile because he was poor (his victims were also poor); or a man of color (his victims were also people of color); or because he had an abused childhood (so did his victims). In the early 1970s, I was alarmed by the mass Muslim-on-Muslim, male-on-female gang-rapes in the war between Pakistan and Bangladesh. I knew that the victims' families would reject or kill them for having been raped. I wanted American feminists to understand the specific danger these rape victims were in but I had no single word to describe the use of rape as a weapon of war (as opposed to a spoil of war). When repeated public gang-rapes took place in the Sudan in the 21st century I described them as "gender cleansing." Killings? My fourth study (2015) was titled For a long time, I had been reading the When Women Commit Honor Killings. Memoirs of tribal women (primarily In you r book Wom en an d M adn ess, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs), and their pu blish ed som e 40 odd year s ago, on e of searing testimonies, coupled with my t h e cen t r al poin t s is " t h at dou ble long background of feminist research st an dar ds of m en t al h ealt h an d illn ess led me to study a phenomenon that exist an d t h at w om en ar e of t en pu n it ively only a few Western feminists had labeled as a f u n ct ion of gen der , r ace, class, explored. or sexu al pr ef er en ce," w ou ld you In 2009, I published the first of four studies about honor killing. Titled "Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?"

elabor at e you r t h ou gh t s in con t ext t o t h e w or ld w e live in t oday? Do you t h in k t h is n ot ion h as m et am or ph osed, t r an sf or m ed in som e w ay?

In 2010, I published a second and far Women and Madness was published nearly more major study titled Worldwide 50 years ago or some 48 years ago. Things have improved a wee bit in the Western Trends in Honor Killings. world. But these same biases still exist. I published my third study in 2012. It However, today, there are feminist therapists was titled Hindu vs. Muslim Honor

who are Caucasian, women of color, and lesbians who try to resist their own internalized sexism. My guess, is that "Women and Madness" and those who were inspired by it may have changed the mental health professions by about 20%. We still have the remaining 80% to change. The situation in non-Western countries may be even more dire, terrible, patriarchal. Is this true in your experience? Today, there is also some better medication for anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Also, we know more about how sexual violence, beginning with incest, affects a girl or a woman in terms of Post Traumatic Stress symptoms. She is not "crazy." She has been tortured. In America today, we have too many people on the streets who are homeless and hallucinating, who refuse to stay on their medication, and for whom no quality mental health care is available. This is as bad in its own way as locking them up in mental asylums and without giving them quality mental health care either. Today, in 2018, Women and Madness is still my best selling title. Reminding you of the Class Action Lawsuit in Nebraska 1998, where you were the sole expert witness on behalf of female psychiatric patients who had been sexually, physically, medically, and psychologically abused, do you think there is a comparison between those victims with the victims of patriarchy ? where women, though not in the confines of their hospital but at their own homes ? are subjected to the same treatment, physically, mentally, sexually and even health-wise (for not having bodily autonomy). How would

you see and note this comparison? What an interesting point. If you are thinking about women who are house-bound, who live in purdah, or who require male "minders," then, in a sense, this is similar to living under house arrest or being psychiatrically hospitalized. If you add to this picture a situation in which girls and women are punished for the slightest independence, are routinely and normatively beaten and punished, then, yes, it might be similar to hospital confinement. Such inmates will become fearful, anxious, claustrophobic? but worse, utterly dependent, Stockholm-Syndrome style on those who subordinate, monitor, and control their every movement and every thought. Like the poor inmates in Nebraska, they may also be subjected to intimate family violence, both sexual, physical, and psychological.

You ar e am on g t h e pr opon en t s of a n ot ion t h at led t o you r book t it led 'Wom an's In h u m an it y t o Wom an ,' w h at ar e you r t h ou gh t s in con n ect ion t o t oday 's w or ld, w h er e w om en ar e st ill bein g gasligh t ed by ot h er w om en , ost r acized an d look ed dow n u pon (again by w om en ) becau se of t h eir lif e ch oices, is t h er e an y dif f er en ce f r om w h en you f ir st w r ot e t h e book ? How ? This was a book that many feminist leaders did not want me to publish. Women, but perhaps feminists especially, do not want to add to the world's view of women as mean, catty, envious, traitorous, competitive towards other women? especially because this is true. Like men, women are as close to the apes as to the angels and are especially tasked with keeping other women in line. Policing other women. Everyone knows of a best girlfriend who "steals" one's husband, or one's job, or even

more important, one's good reputation.I found that women play a huge role in terms of gossiping, falsely, about a girl or a woman who is then honor killed. Like racism, women's sexism must be acknowledged in order to resist it. Wh at is West er n dom est ic f em icide an d h ow dif f er en t or sim ilar is it f r om h on or k illin g? In 2009, I published my first academic work on this subject in Middle East Quarterly, charting the specific differences between Western domestic violence and honor killing/femicide. While many insist that honor killings are like Western domestic violence, this is not the case. In honor killings, murders are carefully planned conspiracies and may be perpetrated by multiple family-of-origin members. Brothers, uncles, fathers, and other male relatives usually commit the murder, although mothers, sisters, and aunts have also been known to collaborate in the murders of their female relatives sometimes, they are also the hands-on perpetrators. Batterers who murder in the West are usually acting in an unplanned and spontaneous way. They alone are the perpetrators. Their own families do not assist them nor does the victim's family-of-origin. Invariably, their killers are husbands, not fathers. In the West, fathers rarely murder their teenage daughters. This is what happens in a classic honor killing. Honor killings in the West are significantly marked by excessive

violence, such as repeated stabbing, raping, bludgeoning, and then being set aflame. Such killings are similar to what serial killers do to unknown, often prostituted, women in the West. In the West, batterers and wife killers are not celebrated--they are shunned. If possible, they are also prosecuted. Hindus in India, and Muslims, worldwide, who commit honor killings, are viewed as heroes who have saved their family's honor. Thus, they feel no shame or remorse. In fact, they plead "self defense." The girl or woman who has, allegedly, dishonored their families of origin have made it impossible for that family to marry off any of its other children. They will be ostracized socially and economically and unmercifully bullied on the streets unless or until the girl or woman who has "dishonored" them is killed. Com in g t o you r r ecen t ly pu blish ed book 'An In cor r ect Fem in ist ...,' begin n in g f r om t h e t it le ? can you t ell u s m or e abou t it ? This Memoir describes what life was like in America for girls in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s which alone explains how unhappy and how desperate we all were and how feminist ideas seemed so liberating and thrilling. We were united with other women for the first time in our lives and based on our ideas. We had no knowledge of feminist work that had preceded us and therefore had no idea how, in the past, feminists had disagreed, fought, and shunned their opponents. We were totally unprepared when this happened to us or when our own most original ideas were "borrowed" or stolen by other feminists. However, I explain, perhaps for the first time, that there were really three streams that made up the Second Wave: a civil rights movement, an activist movement, and the feminist transformation of the professions. I swam in all three streams. I belonged to the honorable minority who opposed pornography, prostitution, sexual slavery, automatic male custody of children, surrogacy (which I view as reproductive prostitution). I also

In 2009, I published my first academic work on this subject in Middle East Quarterly, charting the specific differences between Western domestic violence and honor killing/ femicide. W hile many insist that honor killings are like Western domestic violence, this is not the case.

honored motherhood in three books on the subject? With Child: A Diary of Motherhood, Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody, and in Sacred Bond, as well as in three chapters in a fourth book. And, I memorialize the most dedicated, selfless, and heroic feminists of my time. I hope this information will help future generations of feminists learn from both our victories and our mistakes. In you r book , you t alk abou t som e of t h e m ost am azin g t r ailblazer s an d 'lu n at ics' t h at h ave gon e t o sh ape h ow w e t h in k , h ow do you con n ect t h at t o t h is w or ld of #M eToo #Hear M eToo an d t h at of t h e Wein st ein's an d m ass abu se of t h ose in pow er ? Had radical and original Second Wave feminist ideas and activism been continually taught both in colleges and in the media, and known to all human rights organizations, we might have had a #MeToo movement far sooner. Or, we might never have needed one. We named sexual violence against women in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We held speak-outs, brought lawsuits, changed laws, set up rape crisis hotlines, changed police procedures; we named incest; we definitely described and named sexual harassment (Lin Farley did so) and she also wrote the first book on this subject. Within a decade, our most important work had been disappeared in schools. What a shame! An yt h in g you w ish t o add? My work has been translated into many European languages and into Japanese, Hebrew, Korean, and Chinese. I wish it could find a home in Arabic. What do you think? Will this ever be possible?

Im age Cr edit s: h t t p:/ / ph yllis-ch esler .com

Had radical and original Second Wave feminist ideas and activism been continually taught both in colleges and in the media, and known to all human rights organizations, we might have had a # MeToo movement far sooner.

Rai si ng Oth ers From Th e Sti ck y Fl oor A couple of years ago, Team Ananke, w as int roduced to an inspirat ion and a t rue t railblazer. She is an ardent Human Right s advocate and w hen she says ?I believe in lift ing people??she really means it . That ?s how we have come to know and love Mandy Sanghera ? a sincere voice in t he pandemonium of noise in t he advocacy landscape and t his is w hat she has to say.

Tell u s abou t you r self an d you r jou r n ey as a h u m an r igh t s advocat e? I am an award-winning philanthropist, community consultant and global campaigner. I am also an international human rights activist & I?ve been a motivational Tedx speaker. I travel all over the world empowering & motivating others especially young people. It all started 29 years ago. I started out as an advocate supporting victims of domestic violence with a focus on supporting Asian women. I had a friend with a disability who was abused by her husband. I couldn?t understand why she was made to marry someone she didn?t love. I was told that her family knew best, and it was at that moment that I took it upon myself to stand up for the most vulnerable in society. Wh at ar e som e of t h e issu es t h at ar e r eally close t o you r h ear t ? Please elabor at e. I have been very passionate about supporting the most vulnerable especially those with disabilities as no one was supporting the cause in the 90?s.I am one of founders of the UK forced marriage unit. I was one of first campaigners who specialises in honour abuse of disabled people I?ve raised awareness of forced marriage, witchcraft, and other harmful practices. I?ve raised awareness of capacity and consent.We need better support & provision for disabled women they are often twice as likely to suffer from abuse as they maybe dependent on their abuser to support them You speak abou t a w ide ar r ay of issu es lin k ed t o gen der -based violen ce, bein g an em in en t advocat e - can you t ell u s t h e im por t an ce of advocacy an d h ow cr it ical is it in t oday ?s day an d age? It?s so important as we need to empower the next generation. We have a duty to lift

them of the sticky floor. We need to continue raising awareness of GBV and its impact on society. I have never shied away from speaking out and for me it?s always been about protection and political correctness.Safeguarding is everyone?s business for me and doing nothing isn?t an option. This year we have seen the rise of Me Too Time Up movements. Sadly, people continue to abuse their positions of trust and power. Wh at is Van i an d w h at is you r opin ion r egar din g t h is issu e? Last year I raised awareness of Vani and according to Wikipedia: ?Vani or Swara is a cultural custom largely found in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan where young girls are forcibly married of as part of a punishment or crime committed by their male relatives.? It is yet another form of arranged child marriage enforced and propagated by council

I have been very passionate about supporting the most vulnerable especially those with disabilities as no one was supporting the cause in the 90?s.I am one of founders of the UK forced marriage unit.

elders or jirgas and is even tied to blood feuds among tribesmen and clans. While the tradition was outlawed in Pakistan in the year 2004-2005, forced marriages and murders under the Vani custom are still being reported widely.I spoke about how such practices still happen even in UK and USA. Not a new concept even in the West, it has seen many occurrences in European and American communities especially among gang members. ?In recent years we have seen women drawn into gang life in London through their relationship with a gang member. Women many a times experience violence and abuse because of their relationship. Though there is no research showing exactly how widespread the problem is, rape is being used by street gangs in neighbourhoods across Britain. Female victims are caught up in a brutal dynamic that observers say reflects what happens during conflict but has become so common that it is normalised. Female are used to settle feuds and debts and more than often woman never come forward because of honour and shame. It turns out that, like violence, gang membership is as much a public health problem as a criminal justice problem. Some people believe that the gangs have become a permanent feature of the urban landscape around the world. You ?ve su ppor t ed m an y vict im s of violen ce; h ow do you do t h at ...? Wh at k in d of su ppor t does a vict im / su r vivor n eed? I work in victim centre approach. It?s important I signpost to appropriate services. Empower victims Educate communities Challenging traditions





I have always been about the cause and not applause. I?ve never used victim to raise my profile in the media. In the last 29 years I?ve spoken about the issue and not myself that?s been the secret of my longevity. I?ve been a target of hate campaigns and I have even had threats but your never take things personal. Wh at h as been a def in in g m om en t in you r lif e as a Hu m an Righ t s advocat e? There have been so many things, but I would say this year has been phenomenal as I?ve travelled the world doing talks. I have been invited back to the House of Representatives.Whilst all the highs, there have been a few lows and difficult days. I have been supporting victims of sexual misconduct within the UN. It has been a very long wait for justice. For me it was always about supporting victims & standing with the whistle-blowers.We always have a choice to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. After months of being gaslighted, harassed and having my character defamed by RK friends, his colleagues and supporters who were always trying to discredit my professional and personal reputations. They even

tried to stop organisations working with me. I couldn?t have done this without the support of Kerry M. Gibson, we both have been under stress and emotional distress.

I have been accused of being a racist because I wouldn't stand with wrongdoings. We now need to support victims to get justice and psychological help they need as well as compensation.

I would like to thank everyone who has stood with Kerry, Aashish and I during this testing time as we fought to give the victims justice for what they had suffered at the hands of a man whom they had trusted and should have felt safe around. For me it was always about doing the right thing. I am of Indian descent. It was never about race. I have been accused of being a racist because I wouldn?t stand with wrongdoing. We now need to support the victims to get justice and the psychological help they need as well as compensation. This is a landmark case, a real game changer and will be transformative in changing policies & even law. We can?t allow people to continue abusing their power or hide behind diplomatic immunity How do w e em pow er vict im s/ su r vivor s of abu se of an y f or m ? I believe in empowering everyone. I always tell others who are we to drag up someone?s past when they are trying so hard to change it I support victims to stop blaming themselves. I believe them and their story. I give them tools to move on. Set realistic goals and I try and educate communities and professionals. Being an expert in various development related fields, I?ve been driving innovation, building strategic partnerships, promoting advocacy and programming in the areas of human rights, gender equality, accountability and social justice globally. I think my no-nonsense approach to issues has been a plus as people trust me. I believe in being an upstanding humanitarian. For the past 29 years, I?ve helped hundreds of individuals and now I reach thousands through social media and

On I ntersecti ons of Gender V i ol ence & Di sabi l i ti es

Tell u s abou t you r jou r n ey as a h u m an r igh t s advocat e? I was always what my father would deem "determined", and group mentality or social mores didn't sway me from action. I was the seven year old standing against school yard bullies who tormented my new best friend, and I continued to stick my neck out for those who needed me to. Perhaps that was the beginnings of my political journey as well. Wh at h ave been t h e m ost sign if ican t ch allen ges you h ave f aced; an d m em or able m om en t s t h at ar e a sou r ce of pr ide f or you ? It's always most disappointing when people choose self-interest over doing the right thing, because I believe that doing the right thing in the end serves ones self-interest. But humans are greedy, and impatient, and try to take the biggest piece of cake before someone raps their knuckles. I'm always proud when a struggle shows vindication. It's hard not to. Sometimes forces try to diminish you, destroy you, so that you lose hope that justice will be found, but if you keep on, and always doing the right thing for the right reasons, you will be vindicated, the cause will be addressed, and I think you can allow some pride in that achievement. Talk in g abou t disabilit ies an d Violen ce Again st Wom en an d Gir ls (VAWG), can you sh ar e you r t h ou gh t s abou t t h is t opic t h er e is n ot m u ch aw ar en ess as t h er e sh ou ld be especially abou t t h is issu e. I was very proud to be a judge for an international media award under the Ruderman Foundation recently. Alongside Pulitzer prize-winning journalists, we read dozens upon dozens of submissions for this particular award. The intent was to encourage the reporting of issues of

Kerry Gibson, Planet 5050 Champion, UN Women, Global Goodwill Ambassador, chats with Sabin Muzaffar, shedding light on the attempt and failure of feminism in empowering women with disabilities.

disability. Because, as you say, there isn't much awareness, and educating society on what exists is how we encourage society to create change. Disabled women for instance are globally the most vulnerable demographic. Those with intellectual disabilities are often sold off as child brides, they are thrown into institutions and group homes that have no oversights and are not valued as human beings with lives and purpose and contributions. Those who can't speak can't defend themselves and those who can speak are frightened to. They are beaten because they can't retaliate, and raped because they have no recourse. Com par at ively an d in you r opin ion h ow does h avin g disabilit ies m ak e on e m or e vu ln er able t o VAWG?

poor health due both abuse and neglect, causing early death. And failing to enable the disabled is a poor use of human resources at the very least. Israel realized that it has so many disabled that it would be devastating to the economy to not provide them with the care they require to help them function in the community. So it provides all services necessary so that those with disabilities including women and girls can have some measure of success in the workplace, in society, in life. And in so valuing the contributions of the disabled, it also lessens the prevalence and impact of VAWG with disabilities. Talk in g m or e abou t t h e im pact , w h at ar e som e of t he socio-econ om ic r eper cu ssion s of violen ce on vict im s? According to statistics, there are about 14,000 people just like me in my area of

Vulnerability to VAWG isn't just about physical weakness. It is also reflective of cultural acceptance of abuse. There is a societal attitude that those with disabilities are "less than", and are often treated like they deserve no more than animals. And in cultures where animals are tools or pests, that is not a good position to be in. They often become the victims of others mental health concerns, fielding the rage and the disappointments, the frustrations of those around them. Sometimes people abuse others simply because they can. Wh at is t h e im pact of w om en w it h disabilit ies?


Violence against women and girls keeps women with disabilities from having happy and successful futures. It often negates them the right to education and family and career due to isolationism and fear. Often women and girls with disabilities develop more disabilities and

"Vulnerabilit y to VAWG isn't just about physical weakness. It is also reflect ive of cult ural accept ance of abuse."

Canada. that means there are 14,000 people who are capable of what I am capable of. Can you imagine if those 14,000 people are empowered to contribute to the economic well-being of our part of the world? The enormity of the intellectual contribution once you overlook the fact that we cannot climb stairs? It is forgotten that many jobs these days do not require us to be in a field or on a farm or in a factory. Our usefulness is not determined and measured by brute force and manual labors. Those with disabilities can teach, can innovate, can create. however when we focus on what those with disabilities cannot do rather than what they can do, VAWG occurs because it is allowed, and those with the ambition to do more, to be more, are discouraged and shamed into the shadows of society. Disabilit y h as it s ow n st igm a, per vasive in ever y societ y, bu t in par t s of Af r ica an d Asia discr im in at ion again st w om en w it h disabilit ies can be ver y oppr essive, w h at is you r opin ion , is t h is st at em en t t r u e an d w h at abou t ot h er r egion s? It is a shame that humans are not treasured for their humanity. As mentioned, our economies are no longer based on our muscles as our might. However, our mindsets are still in these dark ages and it will be a matter of proving otherwise, showing the unenlightened, what is possible. The Rick Hansen's of the world need to continue to eat away at ignorance in all countries, not just developing ones. Th e in t er sect ion bet w een disabilit y an d gen der -based violen ce is of par t icu lar con cer n becau se som e

f or m s of violen ce again st w om en w it h disabilit ies h ave r em ain ed in visible an d h ave n ot been r ecogn "Lor em ized sit as gen der -based violen ce du e to ipsum dolor sit disabilit y discr im in at ion . How w ou ld a met at ver o you com m en t ?

eostoet."be more Feminism is trying intersectional and failing. When I go to women in technology conferences, -Quote Author women with disabilities are overlooked. We comment on the presence of women of color however those with disabilities seem to be the last demographic that lacks inclusion in the discussion. Many decisions that affect woman of disabilities come from very elitist positions. Ones that assume that all women with a voice are also woman with legs for instance. However, even children can point out that one does not preclude the other. The narrative must begin to include women with disabilities as equal contributors to the dialogue, to the solution. Because, when empowered, all women are powerful. Kerry is President, YES VANCOUVER, President, EcoCentury Technologies, International Relations Advisor, Migranet, apart from being named a Planet 5050 Champion, UN Women, Global Goodwill Ambassador.

How can mental h eal th bl ogs h el p v i cti ms of abuse Dennis Relojo, the world?s first blog psychologist and is the founder of Psychreg, t alks about t he import ance of creat ing a digit al plat form in addressing ment al healt h issues, gender-based violence. More and more people are turning into blogs as a form of self-expression. But more than just a platform for self-expression and a space to share knowledge and current events, a number of blogs are now beginning to play a crucial role in addressing the issues that surround mental health, particularly stigma. growing influence of mental health blogsis now gaining attention in the field of psychology, so much so that there is now a dedicated subfield that explores how blogs contribute to our well-being and mental health ? it?s Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consetetur sadipscing elitr. known as blog psychology. In a nutshell, blog psychology is the scientific study of how blogs (such as

mental health blogs) affect our well-being. This emerging field encompasses a range of topic including human perception, cognition, as well as humanistic components in regard to people?s experience of consuming (and creating) blogs. There are now many applications of blog psychology. For instance, according to the American Psychological Association, the applications of blog psychology can also be applied inside the classroom, in that it helps students process their lessons more effectively. As a blog psychologist, I can also see mental health blogs being used as an effective platform to give voices to

women who are victims of abuse. By giving them a platform as ubiquitous as blogs, it further raises awareness into the plights of these women. As a result, this can generate interest for further research and this can ultimately influence government policies. It is not just textual blogs that can be used to help expand the voices of these women: Microblogs (such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) are also effective medium. Mandy Sanghera, an international human rights activist and global diversity adviser for Psychreg, runs a weekly Twitter chat which aims to demystify the stories of women who have been abused. For years, Mandy has been actively involved in Twitter campaigns through using hashtags such as #EmpowermentHourand #EndViolenceAgainstWomen. Her Twitter chats have generated interests, and more and more women are now taking part. Realizing the role of microblogs, Mandy will deliver a timely lecture on this areas on the upcoming 1st Mental Health Bloggers Conferenceto be held in London on Monday, 17th December. To tell the world that you have been a victim of abuse is such a huge feat, even more difficult if you are a woman. It takes a lot of courage to achieve this, and in spite of the presence of platforms such as textual blog, microblogs, and vlogs ? sharing stories of abuse still remain not to be an easy task. Therefore, we need to encourage more stories from these women. It is important to realize that the stories that people share on blogs have the power to generate insightful conversations. In turn, these conversations can impact policies ? and can have the potential to put an end to these abuses from happening again. As a blog psychologist, I invite women who have been victims of abuse to come out and share their stories and share it on Psychreg. We will support you in this undertaking and will share your stories; you can remain anonymous

To tell the world that you have been a victim of abuse is such a huge feat, even more difficult if you are a woman. It takes a lot of courage to achieve this, and in spite of the presence of platforms such as textual blog, microblogs, and vlogs ? sharing stories of abuse still remain not to be an easy task. Therefore, we need to encourage more stories from these women.

if you want. We invite you to visit our websiteto find out more on this, or you can simply connect with us on Twitter @psychreg. Through our collective efforts, using our chosen medium, we can make a significant difference to the lives of women who have been victims of abuse. We should keep on spreading our advocacies.

More and more people are turning into blogs as a form of self-expression. But more than just a platform for self-expression and a space to share knowledge and current events, a number of blogs are now beginning to play a crucial role in addressing the issues that surround mental health, particularly stigma.

Dennis Relojo is the world?s first blog psychologist and is the founder of Psychreg. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Psychreg Journal of Psychology; and he also sits on the editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals. Dennis holds a master?s degree in psychology from the University of Hertfordshire and is a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society. His research interest encompasses the intersection of psychology, blogging and mental health. You can connect with him through Twitter @DennisRelojoand his website.

Shafika Begum

Stori es of Surv i v al

Rashida Begum

Th ere are an esti mated 923,000 Roh i ngya ref ugees w h o h av e crossed th e border i nto Bangl adesh f rom M yanmar. Rash i da and Sh af i k a Begum are si sters currentl y l i v i ng i n Bal uk h al i ref ugee camp 2 i n Bangl adesh . Th ey both sh are th ei r personal story w i th A nank e M agazi ne w i th th e assi stance of f reel ance transl ator M oh ammed Sh af i . A nank e M agazi ne w oul d l i k e to th ank Rash i da and Sh af i k a f or th ei r contri buti on to our speci al edi ti on to mark th e I nternati onal Day f or th e El i mi nati on of V i ol ence agai nst Women. Speci al th ank s to M oh ammed Sh af i f or h i s rol e as transl ator. Rash i da Begum Rashida Begum 25 from Tula Tuli, Maungdow, Myanmar married Mohammed Hossain 30. Rashida is from the village where mass killings happened in August 2017. She was with her husband and her husband?s family when the violence occurred. The military and Rakhine extremists came to their village and took them as well as other villagers to nearby the river. At the river, the military separated the men and women. Some of the men were shot and killed. The military and the Rakhine extremists then proceeded to take five to six women to nearby houses where they began gang raping the women. Rashida retaliated and tried to prevent herself from being raped, because she retaliated in her defence, the military and Rakhine extremists stabbed her and attempted to slaughter her 28-day old baby son, Mohammed Irfan. Mohammad was snatched from Rashida?s arms and then cast in the fire. Rashida was beaten so severely that she had trouble walking and therefore it had taken her nine days until she reached the Myanmar/Bangladesh border and enter the safety of the Bangladesh refugee camp, accompanied by other Rohingya escaping the violence. Sometime later, Rashida was reunited with her husband, who had also fled to Bangladesh. They are currently staying at Balukhali camp 2. Rashida gave birth a baby girl and named her Arina. The trauma from Rashida?s ordeal is so great that she is overwhelmed with emotion when she recalls the events of August 2017. Rashida misses her son immensely.

Shafika had witnessed two of her family members being shot. All the other men at the river were shot. Shafika was taken to a house with her mother and six other young Rohingya women. The military tore Shafika?s blouse, and her mother tried to speak out. Because Shafikas mother spoke out, one of the military beheaded her mother. Sh af i k a Begum Shafika Begum 21, married Jamal Hossain 25. Shafika is the younger sister of Rashida. Shafika and Jamal were married two months prior to events of August 2017. Shafika is a seamstress. The military brought Shafika and her husband to the river side, as well as Jamal?s family. Shafika met her mother and other family members along the riverbank. Tragically, Shafika witnessed her husband being shot by the military. Jamal?s father who also witnessed the shooting of Jamal, was overcome with grief, he was crying and embraced the dead body of his son, the military shot him also. Therefore, Shafika had witnessed two of her family members being shot. All the other men at the river were shot. Shafika was taken to a house with her mother and six other young Rohingya women. The military tore Shafika?s blouse, and her mother tried to speak out. Because Shafikas mother spoke out, one of the military beheaded her mother. They were beating the others including Shafika and raped all the girls one by one. Shafika was raped by five military and during the sixth raping, she became unconscious. When Shafika gained consciousness, she was naked and the house she was in was on fire. The other women had been killed. It was twilight when Shafika came out from the house. Shafika walked to a nearby paddy field and ducking head as she could see the military in the distance. It had become dark when she encountered her uncle in the paddy field, he had been in the paddy field since morning as he couldn't go home because he was witnessing the atrocities taking place. Shafika?s uncle gave his shirt to her and they walked to a nearby village and he collected clothes for his niece. They then continued walking. It took four days for Shafika to reach Bangladesh refugee camp. Shafika was given a sewing machine by a humanitarian worker and can continue her work as a seamstress. Fortunately, Shafika was reunited with her sister and they are staying together now. Story translated by Mohammed Shafi Freelance Interpreter Cox?s Bazar Bangladesh Edited by Melanie Bublyk

I'm a Sikh, female, British rapper and activist. I do conscious rap about various injustices in our world, including my own experiences of: -


Forced marriage Child abuse Horrific torture of domestic violence whilst growing up. Severe mental abuse Neglect

My experiences led to low self-esteem, I felt useless, unimportant, and was called "bad luck". I want other victims and survivors to know that I understand what they?re going through, because in my own experience, the aftermath of suffering abuse is worse than the trauma experienced when the abuse is taking place. We do not realise at the time that the abuse is wrong. There are many wonderful charities, organisations and survivors that are acting and there is help available. I feel that it is through education within our communities that we can address abuse and injustice and through the arts via music, film and media. Please take a look at my video, AUTONOMOUS QUEENand you shall find some conscious lyrics. I am not afraid! I wish I was younger when I no longer felt afraid, said that, believed it and acted! It's all mind games, lies, and grooming of the vulnerable. No perpetrator is stronger than us! We just need to tell the world in a way they believe it!

From Torment To Tri umph

I t?s My right ? No Forced Marriage is an initiative launched and managed by Alex Sanjeev, raising awareness about the issue by using art to educate communities in the UK about harmful practices especially forced marriages. Dedicated to working with schools, colleges and different organizations, the platform works with both public and private sectors advocating and shedding light on forced marriages and ?honor ?crimes. Their core value is ?education and empowerment,? stating: ?We work passionately to educate and empower young people, placing them to be directly responsible in breaking the silences and dismantling all barriers that still remain. We believe everyone has a voice with the power to empower change. Forced Marriage is all our problem and we are all the solution in ending it. We welcome everyone to be involved with our work.?

We work passionately to educate and Commenting about his work, Alex tells Ananke: ?We all empower young have a voice to make a difference. We've each got to stand up against human rights violations, confront people, placing them mindsets and speak out for those who are vulnerable.? to be directly To visit, the platform?s Facebook page: responsible in @It sm yr igh t NoFor cedM ar r iages breaking the silences Sayi ng NO to Forced M arri ages and dismantling all barriers that still remain.

Alex Sanjeev

Pi nni ng Saf ety ?Groped in a train between Bandra and Dadar. First class compartment.?? Mumbai ?I was going to somewhere by auto and a man sitting beside me touched my private part. I felt so bad and disrespected.?? Patna ?I used to travel many times in 11H bus, during its peak hours in the morning. While standing among the crowd I was touched and groped from behind.?- Chennai

These are some of the 11,500 stories anonymously submitted to our crowd map, Safecitywhich I co-founded almost six years ago as a response to the gang rape of Jyoti Singh on a bus in Delhi, India. The idea was to bridge the data gap that exists between the daily reality that women and girls experience and the under-reported official statistics in India.

According to UN Women, one in three women around the world experience some form of sexual violence at least once in their lifetime. Yet most of them do not report their experience to any official authority. This is because of many reasons

expose the issue. A young woman from Berlin, spoke about being followed from the subway to her apartment by a man who had been drinking on the train. After she entered her house, he threw the bottle against her front door where it smashed to pieces. The incident made her afraid, yet she did not report it because she felt she had ?accepted? it and it was not important enough to report it. Every day, women and girls around the world are vulnerable to such attacks. They are verbally assaulted with catcalls and leery comments, they are stared at and undressed with eyes that intimidate and many are groped, touched and stalked by men. Often, women and girls normalise these incidents and accept it as part of daily culture. But unconsciously they do not realise how it impacts their lives ? they may change

y on th e M ap - fear of bringing shame to themselves and their families, fear of dealing with the police and their insensitivity, and fear of the lengthy judicial process for justice.

routes, curtail or limit their mobility and modify their behavior. Plus, their self-esteem may take a beating. One of the participants spoke about how on her This is true not only for India but for many way home from the Paris Peace Forum countries around the world. I am returning the day before, she chose a longer route from the inaugural Paris Peace Forum home around the park rather than walk a where I co-hosted a meet up for a small more direct route through the park. group on the topic of Women Friendly Cities. In my work, I find that it is by storytelling Some of the young women in the group that we can connect with each other and living in Paris confirmed that they had been build solidarity. On Safecity, we sexually harassed in public spaces but felt encourage anonymous reporting of ashamed to go and report to the police, sexual violence and these stories are even now that street harassment is illegal as visualised on a map as hotspots. We look of this year. One of them explained that this at patterns and trends that are location came from her conditioning of growing up based so that we can pinpoint factors in a small town in America where one is that cause such violence and engage encouraged to keep silent rather than stakeholders like police, municipal

authorities, transport authorities and other civic officials to deliver better services. Thus far, we have over 11,500 stories and we have engaged about 500,000 people using this data. We have several examples where on being presented with the data, the police have increased vigilance and changed their beat patterns, municipal authorities have fixed street lighting and made safe and clean toilets available and religious leaders have advocated with men and boys on appropriate behaviour. It is through storytelling that we can educate men and boys to engage in solutions as many of them claim ignorance and that is partly because of the silence around the issue. Most men may not be perpetrators of violence, but they are silent bystanders at times. In many countries like mine, there are more men than women especially in public spaces. If anything, untoward happens to us, we would like them to be active in stopping it. Therefore, there is a need to educate them to recognise the crime, intervene in an appropriate manner and call out such behaviour amongst their peers to stop this violence. Story-telling can be an important part of that process. Therefore, as a first step towards ending this violence, I would encourage you to report your experience of sexual violence and misconduct on Safecity and/or to any official authority, read up on how you can be a better bystander and have a full understanding of the law. At the end of the day, we need everyone on board to end sexual violence against women and girls as it truly impacts the quality of one?s life.

ElsaMarie D?Silva is the Founder and CEO of Red Dot Foundation (Safecity) and works on women's rights issues in India. She is a 2015 Aspen New Voices Fellow and a Fellow at the Yale?s Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program 2018. Follow her on Twitter, @elsamariedsilva and SafeCity: @pinthecreep

Most men may not be perpetrators of violence, but they are silent bystanders at times.

Th e Psych ol ogi cal Wounds of Domesti c V i ol ence Author of the book The Butterfly Room Saurav Dut t writes on the devastating, far-reaching implications of domestic violence.


e so often don?t think of the

residual effects of abuse in relationships but much of the damage goes far deeper than what we see on the outside. On the inside for the one being abused there are all sorts of wounds and scars that will never heal and so children are left wondering why this is happening in their home and may even wonder if they are at fault in any way for any of this violence that they see. These are the things that so often go unseen, but they are there and cause so much harm even when we don?t recognize what these forms of psychological violence are doing to the family. Writing about this issue, I?ve discovered that the wounds are there and they hurt and it isn?t

enough to try to hide them, you have to be willing to speak up about them so that others will know exactly what you have experienced. Psychological and emotional abuse is crippling but sometimes it?s not taken as seriously as it deserves to be. Often it can be followed by financial abuse where the woman finds herself having to take on the lion?s share of the finances, only for the male to waste the family money on drink and racking up needless debt. For my new book on the subject 'There is a Light that Never Goes Out?I spoke to survivors who spoke of partners stealing money from credit cards and then giving it back to them, pretending that they were settling debts. Then as time passes on these forms of non-physical violence manifest themselves alongside the real thing. What?s troubling to me is when women are ridiculed for talking about these non-physical types of violence and the only reason I can fathom is that it?s the most pervasive sense of male entitlement and this is hard for people to overcome since it?s ingrained in almost all societies, Western or otherwise. It ?s h ar d t o see you r ow n posit ion of pr ivilege w h en you ?r e n ot per son ally bein g oppr essed. One of the ways to tackle this is to teach boys that while physical abuse is certainly wrong, so is psychological abuse. By tackling these dangerous conceptions of women as early as possible we can set a precedent that explains why so many women are trapped in a cycle of emotional and psychological control, and that those stuck within it are not victims of choice. Sometimes those who are impacted by

this form of abuse are made to feel worthless by their abusers; that leaving would mean they were cruel, selfish people. This is a psychological threat in itself as the choice to actually leave often leads to the greatest risk of violence, often fatal. We saw a lot written about mental health problems these days. Often this can obfuscate the real issue as many women who experience mental health problems may also be the victims of domestic violence and vice versa. Given how depression can easily set root in such victims, we must take action and prevent these situations. The violence does more than just leave physical damage, it leaves psychological scars as well. What I learned the most after writing ?Inviolate? was that those impacted must reach out to others who can help and that this is not an issue they have to fight alone because people will understand you. Psychological abuse is not a form of shame to carry on your shoulders or to live with it for the rest of your life. You are not weak, you are bearing pain and showing strength in doing so. Saurav?s new book ?There is a light that never goes out? explores the issue of psychological and physical domestic abuse. It features exclusive forewords by UN speaker and human rights activist Mandy Sanghera and Polly Harrar of The Sharan Project. It was released in May 2018. Follow Saurav at @sd_saurav on Twitter for further information. This article was previously published on ONMOGUL Text

A dv ocati ng to Empow er Sabah at Kazm i is a young social advocate in Pakistan who has devoted her life empowering others. Sabahat works with all ages especially the elders, acting as their voice for she feels no woman should be left behind. The advocate is actively tackling inequalities at a grassroots by supporting women to access legal support and get justice. Sabahat continues to empower others in her community and works closely with British government at all levels. ?It?s very difficult for women in Pakistan to have choices and rights. It?s important for me to act as a voice for others and give them hope. When we have no choice then we must do what we have to do. It?s not easy to challenge elders, the community in Pakistan but we have to become the change we want to see.? Reach out to Sabahat on Facebook: @Sabahat Kazmi

Wom en?s Fr eedom For u m The organization?s workfocuses on specific issue areas, all of WFF?s work is framed within the larger context Pr of essor Don n a M . Hu gh es of women?s is a m em ber of WFF?S rights. WFF advisor y boar d. identifies issue areas and locates the struggles of particular groups/communities as part of a larger, more holistic movement that values dignity, equality and justice for all. WFF?s mission is to spread awareness and inspire understanding of the problems related to women?s rights, gender apartheid, misogyny, human trafficking, and to empower women and men worldwide to actively participate in the advancement of women?s rights and gender equality. WFF works primarily in the Middle East, focusing on this region due to its strong social problems including but not limited to a system of gender apartheid, illiteracy, violence against women, forced child marriage, human trafficking, job discrimination, and misogyny.

Info credits:

Pow er & Control Alianne Looijenga, survivor of sexual violence and partner abuse shares, her story and struggles about the tortuous path of realizing what abuse is and creating new realities for survivors.

One of the main problems that occurs when women escape abusive relationships, is that violence against women doesn't end as soon as the relationship is over. The dynamics of power and abuse that existed during that relationship, can linger long after the relationship ended. Men can also be victims of family and domestic violence. This article is my own personal story. The need to control others is often not limited to the partner. Often children are emotionally, physically abused or manipulated to how the abuser sees fit. I wish I could say that to escape the cycle of abuse and violence all the victim must do is go to court and seek assistance from social services, but it isn?t that simple. GETTING CONTROL OVER THE VICTIM VIA THE COURT SYSTEM I attended the WAVE conference in Berlin two years ago, where there were participants from various ethnic backgrounds and nationalities who held their hands up high when asked if they were familiar with abusive parents using the family courts to gain control over the children. When asked if they familiar with the perpetrator gaining custody of the children, leading to the victim being without their children. Or using the children as a threat to control the victim again. Almost all hands went up. It happened to me too. I fled with my children away from my abusive ex-partner when they were one year old. He had abused me so severely that they were born seven weeks prematurely. We didn't hear from him for a long time until I temporarily received money from the government because I had no job at that point. I begged them not to, however, they contacted my ex in order to force

One of the main problems that occurs when women escape abusive relationships, is that violence against women doesn't end as soon as the relationship is over.

him to pay alimony (known as child support in some countries) for the children. Because he had an obligation to pay alimony, he wanted value for his money. The court sent a social services employee two times for a short period of time. The social services employee just shrugged when I begged her to not let him be alone with me. However, she did let me be alone with him and he threatened me when I picked up the kids. Even though I was scared, the judge didn't see any problems for him having unsupervised visitation rights. I knew my ex better than the judge did.

Although my dream to work for the UN wasn?t realised, I did start the PAVE podcast where I talk and connect with UN speakers, and all those influencers who try to end violence against women and children.

He had abused one of my sons so severely at one point during visitation that he is now permanently hearing impaired. He put both of my children under a cold shower, cut in the pink part of the nails of their fingers and toes (nail bed) and forced them to eat foods that they weren't allowed to eat because of their premature birth. INFRINGING THE RULES I made the very difficult decision to go against the court rulings because my children were not safe. Of course, I was very scared but if they wouldn?t protect my children then I had to. I had to infringe the rules despite the consequences I may face. CONSEQUENCES In the Netherlands, the court has the right to get you imprisoned if you don't (fully) cooperate with visitation rights. My ex asked the court for that measure, he wanted sole custody, tried to stop me from studying and wanted money for every time I didn't let the children visit him. The judge ruled that I should pay my ex 500 euro for every time I wouldn't let my children go to their biological father alone. That meant that within a few months I owed him 15.000 euro.

I was denied the opportunity of finishing my studies and this left me in study debt, It also shattered my dream of working with the UN. Although my dream to work for the UN wasn?t realised, I did start the PAVE podcast where I talk and connect with UN speakers, and all those influencers who try to end violence against women and children. This made my dream come true by following a different path.

The lives of abused people, whether men, women, or children are at stake and we can't take their lives for granted. And that is a message for all policemen, the court. lawyers, social workers etc.

But I know the system hasn't changed. Current laws are outdated, and patriarchal systems continue to discriminate against women and girls. FUTURE M ETOO CAM PAIGN The time for change has come. I believe that the METOO campaign will ignite new phases where malpractices come too light. It will shine a light on those people who look the other way and silence victims. It will shine a light on outdated practices and unequal power relations. I believe we have a lot to do. And there is a lot of training needed to be done. CHANGE The lives of abused people, whether men, women, or children are at stake and we can't take their lives for granted. And that is a message for all policemen, the court. lawyers, social workers etc. Inform yourself with all information that is available like the ACE studies, the Safe Child Act, the Quincy solution. Read books like Donald Dutton's ?the abusive personality?. Learn how to truly recognise abuse. And let us extend and make use out of the METOO campaign to create a new reality for survivors.

Break th e Si l ence? Fizza Awais, an up and coming writer, shares her thoughts with Ananke on the act of betrayal that encourages violence against women. Who made the roti tonight?? He shouted angrily ?Me?? She said in a shaky voice, trembling with fear and glancing at the roti which was burnt slightly. ?I think I should teach you how to make the roti?. He pushed the plate and allegedly hit his wife on her face. Almost one in three married Pakistani women face physical violence, perpetrated by their husbands. Pakistan is ranked 150th globally on the Women, Peace and Security Index. Around 27 percent of women in Pakistan experience domestic violencein their

lifetime. The United Nations defines Violence against womenas ?any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or private life?. It is a known fact many women are subjected to domestic violence in our society. The mindset of men thinking themselves as ?mard? ((ed: a terminology for MAN in the Urdu language that is synonymous to virility and domination in patriarchal context) so they feel no shame in hitting the female members of their houses. They show the authority and dominance over women by exerting such behaviours. Domestic violence is not only physical, but also verbal and psychological. Women are taunted and insulted by their husbands daily. Other forms of violence against women include honour killings, rape, sexual harassment, early marriages, acid throwing and angry predator killing if a girl rejects a man?s advances. Because the culture of violence is so deeply entrenched in Pakistan society, many women believe that her husband has the right to beat her under certain conditions and circumstances. Often victims do not report incidences of domestic violence out of fear. Patriarchy and an ignorance of lawsalso prevents women from

Almost one in three married Pakistani women face physical violence, perpetrated by their husbands. Pakistan is ranked 150th globally on the Women, Peace and Security Index. Around 27 percent of women in Pakistan experience domestic violencein their lifetime. coming forward. Because victims feel shame and community perceptions of the victim, the perpetrators are unpunished. We should condemn violence against women. Anti-rape bills passed legislation by a joint session of the Parliament on October 7 2016. Whilst these gains are fruitful, the implementation of legislation remains a challenge. Pakistan still has a long way to go before there is a tangible impact on the lives of women. For law to create positive societal change, it needs to be used effectively and human rights organisations and civil society must work together to ensure the rights of women are respected. The social stigma associated with the victims must end. We all have a role to play in ensuring victims have support and are able to seek justice. The piece is written by Fizza Awais, who adores fiction, education, road trips and women issues. She strongly advocates that women should be given equal opportunities. She is an avid reader and an emerging writer. She regularly contributes to different publications. She can be reach at

Saah as: Understandi ng Gender-based V i ol ence Saahas comprises a directory of support across 196 countries, a database of guidance notes on understanding gender-based violence and ways to respond to them, and a reporting tool that helps survivors report their incidents on partner organization Safecity?s crowdmap. The directory of support comprises over 20000 organizations across 196 countries, offering medical, legal, education / employment, resources (food, shelter, clothing, emergency support), consular and refugee-specific support, police and ambulance services for women who have faced violence. The data is intersectional in its focal areas and acknowledges the needs of a survivor through an empathetic lens. It is a means for a survivor to control the trajectory of their journey ? as violence is a disruption of control. It is also a means for a bystander to reach out to the appropriate support on behalf of a survivor to find help, and to help them respond to a situation. The name Saahas, in Hindi, translates to mean ?Courage.? The app recognizes that a survivor ?s choice to stand up to violence and a bystander ?s choice to intervene in a case of violence is an act of courage. Survivors who have faced violence either don?t know where to go for help, or don?t have resources to find out where to go for help. Sometimes, their situation prevents them from finding help, and that can be extremely dangerous to their safety. Research by the Red Elephant Foundation found that many women couldn?t search for resources online due to search engine trails that they couldn?t always successfully erase. Furthermore, many women were unsure of the credibility of the organizations themselves. Recognizing the gap in access, The Red Elephant Foundation chose technology as a means to intervene and assist access. Saahas has been coded and structured entirely by the founder, Kirthi Jayakumar, and resources have been found, verified and placed on the map by a dedicated team of volunteers from around the world. The heart and soul behind the app creation, Kirthi Jayakumar, explains: ?I worked on putting Saahas together, myself ? without a background in coding and in science. This is particularly exciting because we?re all striving for the greater goal of gender equality and putting more women into the world of STEM!? Saah as of f er s a su r vivor an d a byst an der : 1. A one-click platform that can be accessed from anywhere to identify the nearest provider of services for a survivor. Instead of Googling services and leaving a trail where one remains in a vulnerable situation, this one-link-access is easy to delete from browser histories. 2. A glimpse to aid workers and donors to identify areas that don?t have resources altogether or resources of a particular kind, so that they may device appropriate intervention strategies. 3. A comfortable space for inter-organizational collaboration and referral, where organizations can help survivors in other countries access help, or, can refer survivors who come to them, to others to respond to particular needs. Saahas is currently available on the Android Play Store, as a Web App and as a Kindle App on the Amazon Store.

Excerpts from article previously published on Ananke (

FreedomfromViolence Melanie Bublyk w rites about emancipat ing Aust ralian Women from Gender-Based Violence.


ovember 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women,at the heart of this year ?s theme, ?Orange the World: #HearMeToo.? Violence against women hinders gender equality, development and peace. It also is a barrier to the realisation of women?s and girls? human rights. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Womendefines ?violence against women? as ?any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.? Australiarecognises that violence against women continues to be a pervasive issue that profoundly impacts on Australian women?s and girls? human rights. Consultations undertaken by the Australian Human Rights Commissionindicate that violence against women can take many forms, including family and domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, violence in residential

settings and online violence and harassment. At the time of writing 69 women and 19 childrenhave been killed in Australia since 1/1/2018. Australian police deal with an average of 5,000 domestic and family matters every week. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes, and consequences Dubravka ?imonovi? during her country visit to Australiaduring 13 to 27 February 2017 had noted that based on available data violence against women is disturbingly common and continues to have a significant, negative impact on women, children and the wider community and that Australia is a democratic nation without comprehensive constitutional or legislative protection of basic human rights at the federal level.Indigenous women, women with disabilities, culturally and linguistically diverse women, including women asylum seekers and refugee and migrant women and older women experience higher rates of all forms of violence against women because of the intersecting forms of discrimination. Asurveyundertaken by the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children

found that mothers returned to an abusive partner because it was impossible to survive under the auspices of a punitive welfare system. Womenhave increasingly become the face of homelessness and are considered the hidden homeless. Violence and financial disadvantage drive women?s homelessness.

" Women are of ten f orced to l i v e i n a f al se economy and th i s depri v es th em of autonomy and agency.

Melanie Bublyk Women are often forced to live in a false economy and this deprives them of autonomy and agency. This is evident in the case of Rosalind Chiawhom after fleeing an abusive relationship was then forced to give up her aspirations of obtaining a psychological science degree because of conditional welfare policies. The discussion paper, FOR PROGRESS OF THE WORLD?S WOMEN 2015is focused on substantive

equality which has four dimensions · to redress disadvantage · to counter stigma, prejudice, humiliation and violence · to transform structure




· to facilitate participation, both in the form of political participation and social inclusion Remedying disadvantage lies at the heart of the first dimension of substantive equality and aspects of gender-based disadvantage include the lack of empowerment of women within the context of family and social relations. Therefore, women?s subordinate position in the family and reproduction, in the paid workforce and in other relationships of power lies at the heart of redressing disadvantage. The authors of the paper, Fredman and Goldblatt argue that affirmative action measures in favour of women do not breach the principle of equality if their aim is to redress discriminatory disadvantage. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violenceis a global campaign spanning from 25 November, The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women through 10 December, Human Rights Day and is taking place this year against the backdrop of an unprecedented global outcry.At the heart of this year ?s theme, Orange the World: #HearMeToo. May the voices of Australian women be heard, and may they be emancipated from the pervasive gender-based violence and poverty that continues to undermine their fundamental human rights. If you have been affected reading this article there is help available through these Family and domestic violence support services: · 1800 Respect national helpline: 1800 737 732 · Women's Crisis Line: 1800 811 811 · Men's Referral Service: 1300 766 491 · Lifeline (24-hour crisis line): 131 114 · Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277

Empoweringthe Opressed With Knowledge Despite all our technological advances, women in Sub Saharan rural communit ies cont inue living in condit ions reminiscent of t he early 1800?s.

Deaf children who were taught how to make reusable pads by Susan Stasi (center).


tudies show that Africa has the world?s largest youth population and is expected to double in the next 20 years. The ever increasing population may be attributed to centuries of gender oppression and pre-defined gender roles that have been embedded into the psychological makeup of Sub Saharan women and girls. Adherence to these cultural traditions is one of the major contributing factors to the lack of progress in developing the rural community. It is a well-known fact that Sub Saharan rural communities lack access to water, sanitation, healthcare and schools offering quality education. Due to the severe limitations of services, life in the rural community is labor intensive, particularly for the girl child and has a serious impact on her educational attainment. In 2017, 52.2 million girls under the age of 18 were out of school and 9 million will, most likely,

never enter a classroom. Since 2014, Rose Academies has worked continuously to remove those barriers that keep oppressed and vulnerable children out of school. When we discovered that girls dropped out of school due to the onset of puberty and menstruation, we developed a program to teach girls about puberty, menstruation and how to make reusable pads. Our program keeps evolving and now includes instruction on sexual reproductive health, menstrual health and hygiene, human rights and water & sanitation. We are also advocates for the deaf and disabled and have ongoing programs where we teach how to make reusable pads, about puberty and sexual reproductive health. We are in the process of developing a program with Kyambogo University that will provide computer literacy classes for the disabled, special needs students throughout Uganda.

Working in rural villages, it became apparent that the lack of services and opportunities to generate an income kept rural women from progressing. We now have several vocational centers in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo where women learn sewing skills, how to develop a small business, animal rearing, soap making and agriculture. These community based programs provide opportunities for personal growth, educational achievement, and financial freedom. Our latest program development is bringing technology into the rural community. Working with Santa Clara University, we tested their menstrual health & hygiene (MHM) mobile application program in a remote village in Uganda. The app was designed to teach girls about sexual development and reproductive health in a graphically friendly approach. The beta test was extremely successful and will be included in our next phase of mobile health and e-learning program development for use in extremely remote areas. The notion that rural women are content to live as those before them is a faulty justification of the attitude ?they are used to it.? We realize we cannot put a stop to terrorism, corruption, and hateful crimes, but we can change a life when we share the gift of knowledge. Our mission is simple: How do we empower? We are educators, we teach.

Th e noti on th at rural w omen are content to l i v e as th ose bef ore th em i s a f aul ty j usti f i cati on of th e atti tude ?th ey are used to i t.?

Step Up, Speak Now !

Neel am Sark ari a Gender-Based V i ol ence Speci al i st ?Dowry violence is a hidden crime and we do not know the true extent of the problem in the U.K. and worldwide. It is difficult to police and we need to do much to educate communities on valuing their daughters and more importantly the need to remove dowry or ?daaj?(dahej) from arranged marriages. Legislation is not the way forward more education and community based solutions.? Neelam Sarkaria was called to the Bar in 1988 and now works as an independent criminal justice consultant with specific expertise in harmful traditional practices. She also sits as a fee-paid Tribunal Judge on social security cases and sits on professional conduct hearings for the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). She holds an Honorary Lectureship in English Law at Aberdeen University and has developed and delivered training for health, education and social care professionals on harmful traditional practices. Neelam has extensive experience of working within and across Whitehall Departments and previously worked for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for 24 years. She has performed a range of operational and strategic roles both within and outside of the CPS, including a lengthy period of secondment within Whitehall to develop and deliver criminal justice change. Neelam has been the Chair and now co-Chair of the Association of Women Barristers for the last three years. She is an Advisory Member of the Desert Flower Foundation (UK), an international FGM charity committed to the eradication of FGM. She is also a Community Ambassador for the Sharan Project, a charity committed to supporting South Asian women in the UK who suffer abandonment as a result of forced marriage and honour-based violence. She has recently been appointed to the Expert Advisory Panel for the Ending Domestic Violence Global Foundation. Neelam works with the non-Government organisations she is associated with to develop their capacity and capability. (bio information:

Th rough th e Look i ng Gl ass Chris Tuck, an independent consultant ? VSCP (Victims And Survivors?Consultative Panel) at Independent inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and Founder/ Director Survivors of Abuse, shares her thoughts with Sabin Muzaffar about being a campaigner, advocate and a survivor of abuse.

Tell u s abou t you r self an d you r jou r n ey as a cam paign er , advocat e? I am a survivor of all forms of abuse and neglect. I wrote and published ?Through the Eyes of a Child? in 2013 because I needed to live my authentic self and I knew that by sharing my lived experiences with others I could help them in their recovery. On my journey to healing which I am still on! I found that accessing specialist support services that are trauma informed and client specific were hard to come by. Not only for me but for most survivors. After enduring the abuse that we had gone through, I felt that this was a great injustice. I set about raising awareness of the impact of abuse and what we needed to recover as best as we can to live a life worth living. On my journey I have realised that many survivors are facing the same challenges. I am in a position where I can use my voice, my professional background and lived

experiences to be a strong advocate for survivors of abuse. Let ?s t alk abou t an in dir ect f or m of abu se f ir st : Ch ildr en belon gin g t o h om es of dom est ic violen ce? Wh at is t h e im pact an d r eper cu ssion s? Domestic violence in my opinion is a breeding ground for teaching children violence, teaching them to be fearful and to either be compliant or angry and aggressive. I grew up in two domestic violence households. I was constantly scared of what was going to happen next. I was always on edge, I thought if I was a good well behaved quiet child, that the arguing and hitting wouldn't happen. This made me very afraid of people. At nursery I remember hiding under the slide and wouldn't speak to anyone. They labelled me as shy. I wasn?t shy I was hiding, making myself small and as unnoticeable as possible to protect myself. As I grew from a child to a teenager, I remained quiet in the main not trusting

anyone until they proved themselves to me but underneath there was a seething rage going on at the injustice of what was happening to my mum, my siblings and me. That anger exploded within me on two occasions which I was not proud of, but I was extremely provoked and fighting for my survival. When you are so tightly wound up, stressed and living in fear it has a huge effect on your mental, emotional and physical health. Chronic stress on the body and living in fight flight freeze mode 24/7 causes the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin to be turned on all the time. All of which affects your mental focus, your ability to learn, your posture, your mobility, your aches and pains in your body. Emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse can be experienced in domestic violence relationships and has a massive impact on the victims living in the household. It effects self-esteem, self-worth, education, employment and relationships.

Domestic violence in my opinion is a breeding ground for teaching children violence, teaching them to be fearful and to either be compliant or angry and aggressive.

Some children will see the violence and go on to be abusers themselves because they suffer from anger management issues and they have a mentality in which they think, I'll hurt them before they hurt me. Some children will decide never to have a relationship or children. Some children will bounce from one abusive relationship to another. Whatever the outcome these behaviours are destructive on the next generation. In you r opin ion , can an alysin g ch ild abu se t h r ou gh a gen der len s h elp alleviat e t h e issu e? Wh y or w h y n ot ? Yes, I think that looking through a gender lens is very helpful, and I will explain some of my reasons why. I am not an academic expert in gender issues or childhood abuse so cannot speak about any theories, but I can from my own personal experiences. I have always felt that the man of the house has always had the power and control. And whatever they say goes whether it be right or wrong. Growing up my mum was always subservient to her two husbands, but I came to realise only to a point! My mum left my dad in 1977 because he beat her up and was having affairs. Her second husband was a lazy man and a violent drunk. He always wanted the benefits money, but mum would make sure she did the shopping and put a few pounds aside for extras for us when needed before he could get his hands on the money. She always said this is our little secret, don?t tell your dad, what he doesn?t know about won't hurt him. Therefore, she was in control in one respect but on the other hand she was fearful of him.

When he left the house, there was always a sigh of relief. But we all knew that when he came home that all hell would break lose. Mum would say "let?s just do these chores get the dinner on the table to keep him happy" But we all knew that once he came back drunk that nothing would appease him or make him happy. He would find a reason for that not to happen so that he could kick off. In the work place I was also bullied. I was a Financial Controller for an upcoming company. The Finance Director, the Operational Director and the CEO were all men. They wanted me to make our accounts look better than what they were. I refused. My life was made very difficult. After a breakdown I eventually left. I was not mentally strong enough to take them to a tribunal. I think as parents we have a duty and a responsibility to teach our children boys and girls about healthy and unhealthy relationships, respect for each other and about equality. This starts with teaching children not to hit each other and to be kind to each other. Treating each other as equals. Children copy their parents. Therefore, if children see that there is inequality in the household or violence in the household unless they know different or they are taught that its wrong and not acceptable they will most likely grow up thinking and acting out like their parents. The way that children are being brought up by their parents, the community that they live in and the culture that they come from can dictate how they treat each other. For example, sexual harassment of girls at school. This can be dismissed as boys

Chronic stress on the body and living in fight flight freeze mode 24/ 7 causes the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin to be turned on all the time. All of which affects your mental focus, your ability to learn, your posture, your mobility, your aches and pains in your body.

just being boys behaviour but if the behaviour is detrimental to the female victim then this is not right and needs to be dealt with. In some cultures, women and children have no rights or limited rights. They are born into and brought up a completely patriarchal society. Changing cultural norms and attitudes takes a long time but needs to happen so that all genders can experience equality. Wh at ar e t h e f or em ost t h in gs w e as par en t s, gu ar dian s, people w h o w an t t o h elp can do t o h elp vict im s of abu se? Firstly, as parent and guardians we need to educate our children on the following at different stages in their life. * What safe and unsafe touch is. * What a healthy and relationship looks like.


* Not to keep secrets * Be respectful and kind to themselves, their siblings, other people. * That they can talk to us about anything that maybe bothering them or another safe trusted person. It?s important that children see that their parents or guardians are in a healthy relationship where there is love, nurture and care, kindness and equality. If they see their parents or guardians as positive role models they will emulate this. As parents and guardians, we have in my opinion an obligation to keep our eyes and ears open to make sure all children are kept safe. If we see abuse of any kind, we should report it. Many adults knew what was happening to us, but they didn?t speak up on our behalf. We spoke up and were not

believed. If a child comes to you and discloses something you have an obligation to believe this child and report. It takes a lot of courage for a child to speak up and whether you do or do not believe what is being said, the child should be supported to report and let justice takes it course. Many adults do not believe disclosures of abuse by children because the alleged perpetrator may come across as an upstanding member of the community and has groomed the adults around the child to make them believe them over the child. For example, this happens a lot where the alleged perpetrator maybe the dad and the non-offending parent the mum has been either groomed by the dad to think he is above and beyond doing anything so sick or is in fear of the dad so is indirectly complicit in the abuse or maybe directly complicit in the abuse. In conclusion all adults need to know that child sexual abuse is prevalent. They need to understand the complexities of grooming within the family home and outside the family home. They need to educate their children about the dangers and consistently tell their children that they are loved and to keep the lines of communication open. Wh at h ave been som e of you r m ost m em or able m om en t s in t er m s of you r w or k ? There are so many! The first memorable moment is taking the decision to write a book. It was a huge scary thing to do. * Would my husband and my family support me in writing the book and going public?

all adults need to know that child sexual abuse is prevalent. They need to understand the complexities of grooming within the family home and outside the family home.

* Would people believe me? * Would people judge me? * Would the book help others as I intended it to do? * Would the book give me closure, justice? * How was I going to finance it? * Who was I going to get to write it? Every time I tried I became an emotional wreck! Eventually after being indecisive for a long time, I decided to save up the money to pay a ghostwriter to help me put my thoughts and lived experiences together and write the book. My second most memorable moment was receiving the first copy of my book and launching it in Sept 2013. I spoke for the first time publicly to eighty people about the abuse my siblings and I had suffered as a child. The reaction to me speaking and the book was amazing. From that day I have never looked back. The third most memorable moment for me is being able to empower, help and support victims and survivors in many ways by using my lived experiences and my knowledge as a health and wellness expert. Launching the charity SOB in 2016 and publishing the Breaking the CycleÂŽ C.L.E.A.N.E.R.ÂŽ Living Therapy Programme book. Becoming a Consultant to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in 2015! Everything I do is about making the victims and survivors journey of recovery better. Using my lived experiences to make change happen wherever I can.

My second most memorable moment was receiving the first copy of my book and launching it in Sept 2013. I spoke for the first time publicly to eighty people about the abuse my siblings and I had suffered as a child.

Vict im s of abu se su f f er f r om sh at t er ed con f iden ce an d can exper ien ce f ear as w ell, h ow can t h ey over com e t h is? The impact of child abuse in all its forms can have profound impact and a lifelong experience. The impact of abuse in my own family has been devastating and I have found that many statutory health professionals, the police, social services and the public do not understand the impact of child sexual abuse on victims and survivors. * Anger management issues * PTSD & clinical depression and not being able to cope daily because of short term memory loss. * Blocking everything out and not being able to show any emotion at all. * Suicidal thoughts and attempts * Eating disorders * Alcohol and drug addictions * DID The physical symptoms of holding onto chronic stress from trauma has led to me having four hip operations including two hip replacement and two anal surgeries. In an effort for me to understand the trauma of CSA and the impact on my own health, I became a health and wellness coach & created the C.L.E.A.N.E.R Living Health & Wellness Therapy programme which I deliver through S.O.B. to empower other survivors to reclaim their lives. Victims and survivors need help and support to overcome the impact of child abuse in all its forms and to rebuild their lives. Victims and survivors of recent and

non-recent abuse need adequate and appropriate specialist support services available to them from the day of disclosure for however long they need it. It's important that everyone who is not a victim of survivor becomes a member of the 3 in 4 Club - breaks the cycle - and reaches out and helps the 1 in 4 who are potentially suffering in silence.

Article edited by Melanie Bublyk Visit:

The physical symptoms of holding onto chronic stress from trauma has led to me having four hip operations including two hip replacement and two anal surgeries.

Femi ni zi ng A buse Betty Mbithi sheds light on violence against women in Kenya.

One thing worrying society when it comes to gender based violence (GBV) is the information and knowledge gaps between populations in rural areas and those in the urban settings. It is a scenario that is now having negative effects on the number and the rate at which the survivors of violence in rural areas are seeking justice. Cases are significantly higher in poverty-stricken settings. Since those violated, especially women, have very little information on how and where to seek justice. This makes perpetrators of violence to continue doing so with impunity. Som e Fact s an d Figu r es abou t gen der based violen ce in Ken ya ¡ 49 percent of women aged 15-49 have experience physical violence. - 38 percent of ever-married women age 15-49 have ever experienced physical violence committed by their husband/ partner. - Nine percent of ever-married men aged 15-49 have ever experienced physical violence committed by their wife/partner. - About 14 percent of women and 4 percent of men have ever experienced sexual violence committed by a spouse/ partner. - Divorced, separated, and widowed women and men are more likely to report having experienced physical or sexual violence than their currently married counterparts. - Women in Western, Nyanza, and Nairobi regions reported higher levels of physical and sexual violence committed by a spouse/partner than women in other regions. - 50% of women report having experienced violence at one point in their life, with children aged below11years

One thing worrying society when it comes to gender based violence (GBV) is the information and knowledge gaps between populations in rural areas and those in the urban settings.

making up the largest group of rape survivors - 64% of GBV cases occur within the homes of survivor

commits an offence under this law is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding KSh200,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or both. In addition, individuals who disobey court protection orders will be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding KSh100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

Ti t l e Goes H er e

- GBV related trauma contributes to the cycle of violence as victims may suffer re-victimization and/or may become perpetrators of violence later - The My Actions Count Report, 2014 revealed that GBV cases are on the rise across the nine counties that were studied. - Types of GBV cases that have been considered unnatural and unacceptable in African culture, such as incest, sodomy and child defilement are reportedly on the rise. - There is an absence of support for survivors of GBV, as the chain of support right from reporting to the police, through to healthcare and the judicial process is slow, ineffective or hardly in place. - Various forms of GBV are accommodated, justified and even institutionalized in certain Kenyan communities and cultures. Sou r ce: - Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, 2014 - Status of GBV in Kenya Report, 2013 by International Rescue Committee (IRC) - My Action Counts, 2014, by Peace Initiative Kenya, a project of the International Rescue Commit 555-555-5555 The enactment of Protection against Domestic (PADV) Act 2015 1234 5th Ave.Violence NYC, NY 00000 marked the beginning of a solid foundation to protect survivors of domestic violence. The law introduced stringent penalties for perpetrators of domestic violence. Any person who

The law sets out various forms of violence which include child marriage, interference from in-laws and sexual violence within marriage. The law further addresses retrogressive cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage, forced wife inheritance, virgin testing and widow cleansing. Other forms of violence cited under the law include damage to property, defilement, depriving or hindering the applicant access to or a reasonable share of the facilities associated with their place of residence, economic abuse, emotional or psychological abuse. This come as a relief, though unfortunately there still gaps that are not addressed. The law failed to take into account the establishment of temporary emergency shelters and safe houses at county level for the protection of victims of domestic violence. Some organization in the forefront in advancing the rights of women who have been violated by their partners, relatives and other members of the society like Healthcare Assistance Kenya (HAK) note that dealing with these cases has not been smooth as there are so many challenges: financial constraints, lack of commitment by police, cases taking inordinately long in court, survivors being blackmailed not to testify against the perpetrators, witness declining to testify, and perpetrators meddling with evidence.

On Human Bondage Human trafficking is an issue that occurs on a global scale. Humans, especially women and girls are traded mostly for purposes of forced labour and sexual slavery and is a violation of human rights. Sumaiya Nantambi tells her personal story for this special edition to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

I am a victim of human trafficking too and there are many out there who are trapped in this evil practise. Traffickers take advantage of the poverty in developing countries and the ignorance, unemployment, corruption and social norms that discriminate against women. Because of the unemployment in my country, Uganda, someone took advantage of my vulnerability and trafficked me to another country years ago. Where I come from, when someone talks about travelling to a different country especially outside Africa it all seems like a dream coming true. Traffickers operate in a chain, they have dealers in home countries and dealers in the country of destination. I was told my trip to a Middle Eastern country was going to be funded and that I was to pay back the money once I started working in paid employment. The thought of boarding a plane is a dream come true to most African children. Within a week I had already got my passport and I was to travel in less than a week. Since I had skills in hair dressing and beauty therapy and I could speak English, I was assured I was going to work in a salon doing hair dressing, pedicure and manicure when I arrived at my destination country. On the day I was travelling, and I was told that I have to take a passport to someone because her passport has expired, and she is the person financing my trip. I was told I would be using two passports, my passport to pass through the international airport of my home country and the second passport through the airport of my destination country. The human traffickers had also organised two visas for me. I had to present the fake visa at the first airport in my home country and the valid visa at the international airport of my destination country. I was instructed to pad myself with the visa and passport I was delivering in my destination country and use my real passport at the home airport and after the plane takes off I had to go to the washrooms and switch the documents. Deep inside I was so scared, my heart was racing, and I knew something was wrong but

I am a victim of human trafficking too and there are many out there who are trapped in this evil practise. Traffickers take advantage of the poverty in developing countries and the ignorance, unemployment, corruption and social norms that discriminate against women.

again the thought of poverty, unemployment which gave me a sense of fearlessness because I knew my life is going to change once I start working and getting paid in a different currency. I left Uganda with almost all fake documents and because of the corruption in my country, I passed through all the checking points. After my flight had taken of, I went to the washroom and did as instructed but with all the panic and nervousness no one noticed or maybe they did but didn?t care after all they were minding their own business. The following day, late in the evening, the flight landed at my destination country and here I was in a new country, so nervous and confused. I didn?t know where to go so I kept following others. In the line at the immigration, I kept going back behind because I was so afraid and scared. Before leaving Uganda, I was given a phone and I was told someone who was going to pick me from the airport had to call me on that phone, so it had to be on. I watched people going through the immigration desks as I kept going back behind the line very confused. As I was still wondering what to do and where to go, I noticed the phone I was carrying was ringing and the man on phone instructed me to

go to a certain office around there and pick the original visa since what I was carrying was a photo copy and so I did as I was instructed to do. After getting the original visa I had to pull myself together and go to the immigration desk and I was praying to God. This time it was not corruption but luck that I managed to pass through the immigration because the man behind the desk noticing that there are two different people in front of him, the one in the passport photo and the actual person standing in front of him. He was on phone throughout the whole process and due to his carelessness, negligence I had managed to enter my destination country illegally. I was picked from the airport very tired and hungry, I hadn't eaten a thing apart from the lunch I ate the previous day with my friends. The food on the plane wasn't good for me so I didn?t eat it and throughout the whole journey, I felt like throwing up since it was my first time to travel by plane. He asked if I was hungry and of course I was, so he bought me some chips and a Fanta. My first meal in my destination country. He asked me for the valid documents and took me to a phone shop and bought for me a small white Samsung mobile phone, my first time to have a smart phone. From there he took

me to his place where he lived with his girlfriend and that?s where I spent the night. The following day four girls picked me up to take me to a town and one of them was the owner of the passport I had carried. A small slender girl of my age. According to the conversations in the car they had spent the night celebrating. Celebrating what? I thought to myself. Finally, she had got valid documents and a new girl who is going to make her money. Reaching the new town, they talked me through what I was supposed to do and how my new life is going to be. I had to hit the night clubs very early to get customers, I had to do everything I can to get customers so that I can pay back the debt quickly and no one mentioned anything about hair dressing. Above all, I had to make sure that I don?t get arrested by police. How was I supposed to do that without valid documents? Only God knows because no one cared. I had to make money to pay the debt, food and rent. That night she took me to her boss/madam, the one who introduced her to prostitution to introduce me to her. She looked at me and said this one will make money quickly since she is not fat it will be easy for her to get white men. She advised her to take me to a hotel in my destination country because this hotel had many white men, but it was impossible for me to enter since I had no valid documents. Therefore, I was taken to another hotel which wasn't as stringent with their screening. This place seemed like hell to me, it was full of half-naked drunk girls from different countries and the number of these girls far exceeded that of men available. Most of the girls were smoking and I was surprised because in most African cultures girls/women don't smoke. They were talking while chewing and they had a lot of make up on their faces. Growing up I had never put on anything above the knees in a public place. I had never taken any kind of alcohol. She told me I must learn alcohol because it is easier to do it when drunk than when sober. She told me I can make it because she was also like me at first but now she can drink and wear skimpy clothes. She

Victims experience verbal threats and intimidation before they accept their role as prostitutes. Victims face psychological stress induced by threats, fear, physical and emotional violence.

also advised me to bleach my skin and said I was too dark and that I would not attract any customers. Human trafficking is real and many victims are trapped in modern day slavery. In most cases victims of sex slavery brainwashing and physical assault is used until the victims submit to their fate as sexual slaves. Victims experience verbal threats and intimidation before they accept their role as prostitutes. Victims face psychological stress induced by threats, fear, physical and emotional violence. Victims also go through depression, guilt and self-blame. Awareness should be created. Human trafficking should be discussed frequently as one of the problems affecting people, especially women and girls. We should also advocate for education for all because it?s through education you provide people with knowledge. Knowledge about their human rights, and it?s through education that you empower and inspire people to make positive changes in their lives. Victims should be able to talk about their experience, and I believe in doing so, one gets the ability to bounce back given the toughness of the situation she has been through. When you have nothing to be ashamed of, when you know who you are, and what you stand for, you stand in wisdom. Holding the shame is the greatest burden of all.

Victims should be able to talk about their experience, and I believe in doing so, one gets the ability to bounce back given the toughness of the situation she has been through.

Wife inheritance is an affliction that has gripped the African society from eons of time. Widely practiced across the entire continent, it is a tradition where a widow gets inherited by relatives of her late husband. Once thought to be an honorable practice, the custom initially entailed taking care of the widow and her children without the proposition her remarrying. The family merely took responsibility of her and her family?s well-being. The term on the free online encyclopedia ,Wikipedia describes widow inheritance as a cultural and social practice whereby a widow is required

Wi f e I nh eri tance i n A f ri ca Terry Murit hi t races t he root s of an obsolete t radit ion, systemically dest roying families and communit ies.

to marry a male relative of her late husband, often his brother. It is also known as bride inheritance.

no will, the widow is allowed to take 25 percent of the estate and the children inherit the remaining 75 percent.

According to ?Wife inheritance have various forms and functions in different cultures, serving in relative proportions as a social protection for and control over, the widow and her children.?

Sad to say, the very things that have the potential to provide protection to the widow and her family becomes bane of their lives as it reinforces the notion of wife inheritance. The widow is forcefully married or taken up by another man simply because their culture dictates so and more importantly so that the property/wealth of any kind remains within the family.

Apparently, wife/widow inheritance was practiced in the ancient and biblical times in the form of levirate marriage. In 1998, a study by FAO/IFAD in Ghana revealed that women?s access to land was primarily through their husbands. It is tradition that when a husband dies, and if the wife is either childless or have only daughters, then these widows are likely to lose all rights to the land. More than often, the husband?s family shuns any real responsibility whatsoever of taking care of the widow and her children. Many reports suggest widow inheritance then becomes a major hurdle to household food security. All across the African continent, wife inheritance is commonly practiced; among the Dinka or Jieng of South Sudan, the Luo in Kenya and Uganda around Lake Victoria. Under the customary law, the presumption is that the widows and their children will be taken care by the deceased?s kin ? a notion that hardly materializes for the benefit of the widow. Statistically speaking, households headed by widows are said to be one of the poorest groups in the region.. In certain cases, things are different if there is a legal will involved with the property being left to the children and a stipulation that the wife should be taken care of by the deceased?s kin. If there is

Despite a lot of criticism, wife inheritance is practiced continually. In the Luo community in Kenya, the widow is inherited by the elder brother of the deceased (not the younger brother). This rule still applies even if the older brother is already married and has a family of his own. And in case the deceased does not have an older male sibling, family elders then appoint the closest relative, a cousin etc to take over the ?chores?of the widow?s late husband. Information about the eventual marriage is shared with the new husband?s family prior to the marriage. Inheritance takes place only after performing ?Chola? cleansing exercise. Chola is a sexual exercise done in order to release the woman from any bondage and it is performed in two ways: Widow inheritance also plays a pivotal role in spreading diseases like HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea and many more. In addition to this, this traumatizing practice also affects children of the deceased as they are

forced to accept another man?s authority without being given time to mourn or even to adjust to having their mother as their only parent or guardian henceforth. These are pertinent issues that should be considered by the elders who let these cultures flourish. Such practices can only be shunned if more people especially from the rural areas get educated and enlightened about their rights. Living in the 21st century with so much buzz about gender equality, it is high time to end this cripplingly obsolete tradition that does nothing for the welfare of families and communities.. Wife inheritance is still practiced but mostly in the rural areas where the girl child, tragically, does not grow up knowing what her rights are, that they too can go to school, get employment or start up a firm themselves and earn a living. Education is the best tool to initiate the elimination of wife inheritance practice. With more and more awareness being raised each day, empowered women emerging from the ashes of those sacrificed in the name of gender, the moment has come for positive change to take root in rigid societies, with deeply entrenched patriarchal mindset. Forums, conferences and community level talks are also needed to reinforce new empowering ideas and shunning those that eventually lead to the destruction of the family system. It is time to become game changers! Terry Murithi has previously worked as an Ananke intern. This article has previously been published on

All across the African continent, wife inheritance is commonly practiced; among the Dinka or Jieng of South Sudan, the Luo in Kenya and Uganda around Lake Victoria.

Th e Fi nal Cut A World Health Organization (WHO) study reports that over 200 million women and girls alive today in 30 countries worldwide have suffered Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/).It is an age-old custom exercised in many parts of the world, especially in African and Middle Eastern communities to ?cleanse?the girl before she is married off. A horrific tradition that first came into limelight in the ?70s, the almost-fatal act of FGM was recognized by the United Nations as an extreme violation of the human rights of women and children; in addition to acknowledging the practice as a danger to female sexual reproductive health and a severe form of gender-based violence. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was consequently adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989. Moreover, two United Nations General Assembly resolutions on FGM: 67 and 146 were reaffirmed by resolutions 69 and 150 in 2014. Identifying as one of the key targets to be achieved within 2016 to 2030 period, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also recognized the elimination of harmful practices including FGM in the same year. Although it has been outlawed in a number of countries where it is performed, the laws enforced are either weak or possess too many loopholes consistently perpetuating this practice. Female cutting is a ritual that predates even Christianity and Islam, finding its roots in the eras of the Phoenicians, Hittites and Ethiopians; it is usually performed on girls aged between zero to 15 years. Talking about FGM, Hibo Wardere shares her thoughts with Ananke: ?My name is Hibo Wardere, a mother of seven and an FGM activist. For the past few years, I have been working with schools, health officials, police departments as well as other to educate them on FGM. Prevention is the key, the more individuals are educated, the more victims are saved. ?Cut?was a book written by myself on my FGM journey from the moment I was cut and how it affected me. I chose to use what had happened to me to better the lives and ensure they do not experience the implications (both mental and physical) FGM can have.

For more information about Hibo?s book:

Journeyi ng to Fi nd th e Sel f "You can take a British Asian to India, but you cannot take the Indian out of a British Asian" Born and raised in Derby UK December 1985, Kully Rehal started painting from a very early age. With a strong influence rooting from her father 's passion for painting, her devotion for the arts steadily grew bigger and bolder. After graduating with a BA Print Textiles Design, Kully started to explore the notion of self-identity within her own art. In particular, she was interested in how much Asian culture had influenced and shaped a whole generation of young British Asians, who grew up in an era born from immigrant parents. This eventually gave birth to her very own label, FunkyBaba, which is driven by her commitment and love for promoting Asian culture by sharing people's individual perspectives, addressing wide ranges of issues and stereotypes, and her personal experiences, travel and explorations. After successfully achieving Art exhibitions in and around London in 2012 named 'Lost & Found' which was a series of portraits of women who have experienced domestic and emotional abuse within our tight knit community. It was a show that paid tribute to real women with real experiences across the globe and shredded some light on the stages of emotions one goes through whilst suffering abuse. Using experiences of her own and implementing experiences from other women, the exhibition had stirred up lots of mixed emotions within the wide range of people that came to visit.

Whether she is using paints, stitching clothes or embroidery, Kully Rehal likes to challenge the status quo within South Asian communities. Her work is continually shaped by everyday the British Asian lifestyle and events - crafting and illustrating unique pieces based on various perspectives and experiences. Her unique approach has reflected various styles of reference including 1960-70s Vintage Bollywood posters and music, world travel and culture. One of her recently popular projects was a series of portraits of immigrant Asian women, whom she had interviewed at an over-60s club. Shedding light on such taboo and controversial subjects, some of which include stereotypes on homosexuality, menstruation awareness and domestic abuse, are what represent how FunkyBaba aims to challenge and yet educate the social norm. "The world is our oyster and it's our duty to explore and question our surroundings in order to gain experiences which is where real personal growth and strength are derived from. I often use my art as an excuse to sift through my past life experiences and spiritual journey to understand 'The self ' up close through visuals." - Kully Rehal FunkyBaba conceptualises, designs, recycles and upcycles anything groomed from peoples' perspectives, to fashion and furnishings. What makes Kully's work so intimate is that each piece, whether it be a personal project or for a client, is individually hand-painted to express and maintain the essence of ones sense of style, vision and originality. As she continues to define her art, challenge the expected, and shed light on various stereotypical issues, Kully Rehal hopes to illustrate and encourage a new wave of influence through her quirky, unique and animated style. Welcome to FunkyBaba.

M essage From Voicing CSA (child sexual abuse) is a powerful initiative, launched by Phillip Lafferty and the late Nigel Thompson, and is dedicated to provide a platform to survivors to ?speak, to be listened to and to find the proper channels to help them in recovery.? The entity?s main object is to support IICSA (Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse) and VSCP (Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel) in the UK. One of Voicing CSA?s primary objectives is to provide regional ambassadors and volunteers support in villages, towns or cities to establish an empowered national network that is willing to support survivors of child abuse. Voicing CSA has empowered many to start their own organizations and support networks following in the wake of their meetings around England and Wales and helping to make change to the lives of many. Marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Voicing CSA?s Phillip Lafferty had this message for Ananke: ?Forced or arranged marriage is similar to child abuse as families start looking for future partners for their offspring from a young age and in some cases their marriage is set from birth. It is similar to selling your child in an exploitative manner ?for the family?. Love isn?t involved and many women live their lives locked into another family and whilst the matriarch in her new family remains alive the mother in law rules the household meaning that the bride is little more than domestic help, a care worker to be exploited. Whilst faith and religion has a place in society it cannot be at the detriment to members of that same community. This is wrong because women deserve equality not as a gift but as a right.?

Phillip Laffert y

Forced or arranged marriage is similar to child abuse as families start looking for future partners for their offspring from a young age and in some cases their marriage is set from birth. It is similar to selling your child in an exploitative manner ?for the family?.

A cti on Speak s Louder Action Breaks Silence (ABS) is an educational charity established to create a world where women and girls can live their lives free from fear of gender-based violence. We Have Taught Over 51,000 Beneficiaries Action Breaks Silence offers two educational programmes: Em pow er m en t t h r ou gh Self -Def en ce Pr ogr am m e for women and girls and the Her o Em pat h y Pr ogr am m e for boys which challenges gender stereotyping and builds feelings of empathy and respect towards women and girls. These programmes are taught, free of charge, in schools and community groups in India, South Africa the UK and the Dutch Antilles. Action Breaks Silence employs local young people, often from disadvantaged backgrounds themselves, as trainers and facilitators. We aim to

Action Breaks Silence employs local young people, often from disadvantaged backgrounds themselves, as trainers and facilitators.

empower them to become ?Trainers of Trainers?, therefore dramatically extending the reach of our programmes. Her o Em pat h y Pr ogr am m e f or Boys The Hero Empathy Programme for Boys To address the problems of abusive and violent behaviours at their root, we have developed a programme for young boys that includes them in finding a solution to gender-based violence. Created with the help of specialists and psychologists, the programme seeks to: Break down stereotypes to understand the importance of gender equality and good gender relations. - Build empathetic behaviour and attitudes towards women and girls. - In an engaging way, provide boys with a foundation upon which they can play an enduring role in ending violence towards women. - Encourage boys to care about the wellbeing of people - particularly women and girls - in their community. Impact of Our Work - 86% of the boys reported that they have been exposed to violence against women and girls. - 100% said that their views of violence against women have changed. - 100% said the workshop made a significant change to their lives and that they will act differently towards women and girls. - 98.6% responded that they had fun during the workshop and that other boys should get the opportunity to participate in the programme.


The Empowerment through Self-Defence Workshop for women and girls, is a skills-based, interactive workshop, which educates participants about gender-based violence.

The Empowerment through Self-Defence Workshop for women and girls, is a skills-based, interactive workshop, which educates participants about gender-based violence. Using empowerment as a tool it equips them better to recognise indications of potentially dangerous behaviours by perpetrators and encourages them to own their space and bodies with confidence. We offer this workshop for high schools, community groups, women?s events and to business for their female employees. The Empowerment through Self-Defence Workshop for Girls and Women Our




- Ensure that all our participants leave our work- shops not only feeling empowered but also - ?behaving? empowered, with their self-belief and confidence enduringly enhanced. - Educate girls about sexual and gender-based violence and its impact. - Give women and girls a platform to ?break the silence? surrounding abuse/violence against women and educate them on how to seek help. - Give participants an insight into the minds of perpetrators and break down rape myths. - Teach them self-love and boundary setting. - Provide all participants with an understanding of physical personal safety techniques and exercises to give

participants confidence in their bodies and acceptance of their ?inner warrior ?. Impact of Our Work Initial Impact Studies from our previous parachute intervention programme have shown: - 5% of the participants felt less scared after our workshop. - 6% felt more capable of defending themselves after our workshop. - 100% said they could immediately put into action what they had learnt. - 100% of girls said they felt more.

To find out more about the program, visit:

Th e Wol f Th at Led M e i nto Dark ness After such darkness, I did wonder about the existence of light. I can?t actually put a detailed time frame on the moment the light was stolen from me, but I have calculated I was not older than 11. That day it was so hot I could smell the warmth of the grass as my aching body moved uncontrollably beneath him. My eyes dipped in and out of focus, tears streaming down my face. The canopy of trees we were buried in came alive as the sun danced with the leaves. I felt removed from my body, perhaps this detachment happens to all little girls that are lead into a forest by the wolf? I lay silently still as I watched him walk away at an entitled pace. Is truth truer when details are remembered or is it purer when they are blurred? I walked backed home as if the whole world had stopped, a million questions in my mind that I had no idea how I would ever find the answers. As I approach the front door I could hear music and laughter. I headed straight to the bathroom at the back of the house, terrified I would be noticed by the noisy crowd. I submerge my pathetic body; shut my eyes and lowered even my head under the water. I did not know then that for a very long time I would forget where I came from, that brilliant warm light. The light so magical and magnificent that I thought everything was possible, before that cold blackness devoured me as a child.

Debi Stevens

Sav i ng Li v es Gw en t on Dennis Sloley has worked in the housing sector as a specialist in relation to the housing of ex-offenders, vulnerable young people and their families for over 10 years. During this time, he became involved in the professional development of experts in related sectors through his trainings and books. He has made a point of remaining rooted in the communities he serves which he believes has greatly contributed to the efficacy of his work. Gwenton is recognised as having saved more lives than any other individual working in the violence sector over the last 10 years. The Home Office describes his amazing achievements in monitory terms by stating that he has saved the state approximately ÂŁ42,500,000 during that period because in that time he has saved at least two lives a year, and the cost of investigating a murder is at least ÂŁ1.700,000. It works out to approximately four lives a year over that period. It must certainly be more than that because he is called at least twice a week to help families get assessed as being at risk and move to a safe location. These families only deemed to be at risk when a proven murder attempt has taken place by an individual or individuals with a track record of murder, which is known either through intelligence from a number of sources and or prior convictions. He does not deliver this service on a 9-5 basis because as the street never sleeps. Consequently, he is often in the homes of frightened families in the early hours of the morning reassuring frightened mothers and siblings that they will be taken to a place where they will be able to sleep at night and step out of their front door without fear. Often even with the threat of death hanging over their heads these families choose not to move, in such cases, Gwenton can find himself back at the Nine Night of the young person and the family he had previously tried to save from the ultimate loss.

Th e Pol i ti cs of Sh ame

There many things that come with being a person of South Asian descent. The vast majority of us descend from a rich and vibrant heritage, a different personal history, stories of immigration, struggle and eventual success. There are even more things which link South Asians, regardless off where we originate from. We can all, more or less, relate to having big families, the problems that come with that, an annoying relative who ruins life, delicious food etc. But the one thing which affects and binds South Asians, both in the Diaspora and the sub-continent, is shame. Shame is a concept which many people of South Asian descent are keen to explore in books, film, documentaries, blogs and everyday conversations. Shame seems to be a universal factor, which we are able to relate to and understand because we?ve all experienced it at some point in our lives. You only have to look at posts from photo blog, Humans of Bombay, to see what the devastating impact shame and fear of social rejection does to South Asian children and when they become adults. Sh am e; a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour. The sh am eof not marrying the ?right? person. The sh am eof not having lighter skin. Thesh am eof acting upon sexual desire. The sh am eof being divorced. The sh am eof rejecting religion. The sh am eof hiding abuse (in its many forms) and the sh am eof actually speaking about it. There is even sh am ein wanting to get help for mental health problems. Shame manifests itself in so many ways in our lives; it?s gotten to a point where it is now a major cause for concern. The reason why is because silence walks hand-in-hand with shame. That shroud of silence is what makes victims of shame suffer and their perpetrators get away with it. Think about this. Think about how many instances of shaming have happened in your own family; to your parents, your grandparents, your siblings and cousins. Who spoke out? What happened as a result of that? What we see emerge from this observation is that shame, like abuse, runs in cycles because of the silence which accompanies it. There is an overwhelming reluctance to admit that we have a huge problem when it comes to shaming ourselves and each other. Not only does it erode self-esteem, destroy people and their families, but it also has huge ramifications for how particular

ethnic groups view each other and people living within these communities. I often read articles about the rate of suicide increasingin young Indian women, fresh stories of rape occurring, honour based violence, acid attacks and often wonder what is the fuel behind them. Many of us blame our cultures, South Asian men in general, patriarchy, poverty, socio-economic situations, a lack of education and resources ? the list can go on. However, we have not fully realised the impact that shaming men and women from a young age (consistently) has upon the society they live in. I personally believe that shame is one of the root causes. When we shame someone a series of toxic behaviours emerge. They include: loss of self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, feeling powerless, helpless, insecure, repressed, anger, paranoid and frustrated. Frustration is often the very last emotion because it is from this point that we see abusive behaviour start to happen because, subconsciously, people are prepared to do anything to try and regain a sense of power or control in their lives. The psychology of rapists is an interesting case to look at. Many people believe that South Asian men are repressed because of how high the rate of rape is across the sub-continent. This is naive because rape is never about fulfilling sexual desire; it is about power and for the rapist to feel a sense of power that they believe was stolen from them. By raping another person, they temporarily regain a sense of sovereignty ? which never lasts and they may rape again or become violent/abusive. The politics of shame is just as damaging because it strips us of self-esteem, confidence in ourselves and others. A loss of self-esteem is particularly important here.

Frustration is often the very last emotion because it is from this point that we see abusive behaviour start to happen because, subconsciously, people are prepared to do anything to try and regain a sense of power or control in their lives.

When we are at this level, we do not know how to respect or value others, let alone ourselves. And this is not helped by the fact that so many men and women have grown up in families, cultures and communities where shaming is considered to be ?normal.? It?s no wonder that we are unable to defend ourselves or our loved ones when they are being shamed. We can?t even detect it! We fall silent because silence is all we have ever known, and those who speak out are the ones who get ostracised and shamed even more. The idea that ?every generation must be better than the last?is one so many of us hold dear. We invest our hopes and dreams in the youth because we believe that they will be our redemption.

We believe that they will be confident and braver than us. We believe that they will tackle honour based violence, abuse, forced marriage and cultural practices which stifle us. We place hope in a generation because deep down we long for a change.

This article was previously published Image source:


The idea that ?every generation must be better than the last?is one so many of us hold dear. We invest our hopes and dreams in the youth because we believe that they will be our redemption.

Harassi ng Women V i rtual l y Sabin Muzaffar t alks about t he very real and serious implicat ions of cyber violence against women. Every era in time has witnessed some form of rebellion against status quo. Triggered by a surge of technological advancements, the 21st century has had its share of revolutions; disrupting traditional mindset to even opening up springs of socio-economic and political change as well as devastating cataclysms. ICTs and the digital boom have indeed played a pivotal part in triggering awareness about our individual and collective rights, the critical role of inclusion and diversity and more importantly the gradual realization that no society can really flourish without the equal participation of all genders. But there is a flip side. With all things being

said and done, life is still far from what it ought to be ? be it gender equality, countering violence against women, education, economic development and what have you ? there is so much to achieve on a local as well as global scale. We are now living in parallel realities with as much at stake in virtual realm as in the real world. Indeed, the promise and potential of technology knows no bounds. In fact it is like an unbridled horse, unleashing power that can be served for global social good and unfortunately for all that is ruinous for humanity. Yes, technology has laid the groundwork

for positive, sustainable development; but it has also ushered in a more dynamic, more treacherous form of suffering ? especially for those who to-date are still marginalized ? women! With the aid of ICTs, the World Wide Web is witnessing a convergence of real world violence against the female gender into one that is virtual, multi-dimensional and very lethal. It is in fact an overt expression of inequalities transmuted into digital space. According to a PEW research, women overall are disproportionately targeted by the most severe forms of online abuse including trolling, violent threats, stalking and blackmail etc. Cyber violence is a global issue with seriously debilitating implications; but sad to say these are not truly recognized as one even now. According to UN Women?s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: ?Online violence has subverted the original positive promise of the internet?s freedoms and in too many circumstances has made it a chilling space that permits anonymous cruelty and facilitates harmful acts towards women and girls.? One of the many reason why Cyber

Cyber violence is a global issue with seriously debilitating implications; but sad to say these are not truly recognized as one even now.

Violence Against Women and Girls (Cyber VAWG) is more dynamic and more destructive is that it helps maintain anonymity of perpetrators. While there are no actual physicalities involved in Cyber VAWG, its repercussions are in fact very real and truly physical. What?s more, because of having a non-physicality aspect attached to online abuse, people are slow to respond and redress. A UN Women research reveals women and girls aged between 18 to 24 are more likely to experience stalking and sexual harassment in addition to physical threats. One in five female Internet users live in countries where cyber harassment is very likely to go unpunished. Overall 73 percent of women have already been exposed to or have experienced some form of online violence. Online abuse not only takes a toll on woman?s well-being and emotional health, marginalizing them even in the virtual world; it gags their voice, freedom of expression and dismantles their digital footprint. In addition to this, it enables perpetrators to get away with the crime as the lack

of proper regulation incapacitates prosecution of the offenders. It is high time we realize that failure to address cyber violence against women will most certainly lead to disempowering women. It is critical for all stakeholders from state, community, family to individuals as well as private and public sectors, tech industry, ISPs and telcos to come on board together and help deescalate this issue. There is an urgent need for devising inclusive, implementable policies with equal participation from all sides. Setting up local, regional as well as international cyber watchdogs or gatekeepers comprising of ISPs, Telcos and civil society can be a positive

start in the right direction. Leveraging technology such as big data can play a huge role in monitoring, assessing and even ?at times ? preempting online abuse. Last but certainly not the least, it is fundamental to sensitize the public through awareness so that complacency at the grassroots level is weeded out completely and redressal is swift. The article was previously published on Ananke (

Image credit: DRF

Di gi tal Ri gh ts Foundati on Empow eri ng Humani ty's Di gi tal Footpri nt Founded in 2012 by eminent digital activist and lawyer, Nighat Dad, Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) is a research and advocacy NGO based in Pakistan. The organization focuses on how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can support human rights, democratic processes and digital governance. Working towards a world where all people, and especially women, are able to safely exercise their right of expression, DRF aims to support and boost protections for human rights defenders (HRDs), ?with a focus on women's rights, in digital spaces through policy advocacy & digital security awareness-raising. In addition, one of our aims at the Foundation is also to protect women from work and cyber-harassment that they have to deal with throughout their lives. We make them aware of their rights,?

according to the organization?s statement on their official website. The organization also launched a first of its kind Cyber Harassment Helpline in 2016 which is dedicated to address issues of online abuse and violence. The initiative offers free, safe and gender-sensitive as well as confidential service, in addition to proving legal advice, digital security support, psychological counselling and referral network to victims of online harassment and abuse.The toll free number [0800-39393] is available every day from 9am to 5pm. According to a DRF press release, ?63% of the calls at the Helpline were by women, whereas 37% of the callers were by men--however several men were calling on behalf of other women. Facebook is the most widely used platform in Pakistan, which is reflected in the fact that 43% of the helpline callers experienced harassment there.? Talking about the helpline, Nighat Dad said: ??The past 1.5 years have solidified our conviction of working towards a tangible movement that results in a safe and secure online space for both women and men. We pledge to continue to provide victims a safe arena where they can share their experiences and become empowered to have control over their situation and continue to make informed decisions.? Nighat has herself received the 2016 Human Rights Tulip Award by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands as well as the Atlantic Council Digital Freedom Award for her trailblazing work.More recently, she was selected in the prestigious Information and Democracy Commission launched by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF). In September 2018, the Helpline was also highlighted as one of the ten Sustainable Development Solutions displayed at the UN Solution Summit, organized by the UN Foundation.

TO visit DRF online:

Women?s Homel essness From th e Edge of Despai r Melanie Bublyk delves deep into t he link bet ween homelessness and domest ic violence. ?Dom est ic violen ce h as been iden t if ied as a m ajor cau se of w om en an d ch ildr en becom in g h om eless, especially w h en t h er e is in su f f icien t pr ot ect ion by law en f or cem en t of f icials or by t h e legal syst em it self . Con ver sely, f ear of h om elessn ess m igh t com pel w om en t o r em ain in abu sive r elat ion sh ips?. OHCHR/ UN-Habit at ?Hom eless people ar e u su ally st igm at ised an d blam ed f or t h eir sit u at ion , bu t w om en w h o ar e h om eless car r y m u lt iple st igm as an d labels, w h ich m ak e it dif f icu lt t o ask f or h elp an d can be a ver y sign if ican t bar r ier f or r ecover y f r om h om elessn ess?. Hom eless in Eu r ope: Per spect ives on Wom en?s Hom elessn ess

Family and Domestic Violence occurs throughout the world and is experienced by women from all social, economic, religious and cultural backgrounds. A 2013 Reportby the World Health Organisation on global and regional estimates of violence against women found that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. It is the result of power imbalance in relationships and has devastating effects. The abuse experienced is not only violence and physical injuries but also psychological and emotional abuse, control and manipulation, force and intimidation, isolation, threats, sexual violence and financial abuse. Studies reveal that domestic violence creates vulnerability to homelessnessand is also a cause and consequence of women?s homelessness. For example, in just one day in 2015 in the US, over 31,500 adults and children fleeing domestic violence found refuge in a domestic violence emergency shelter or transitional housing program. It is imperative that communities understand how and why domestic violence leads to homelessness for survivors to be adequately assisted. A sense of safety and belonging is diminished when women experience violence. Women escaping a violent environment are often forced into poverty and denying them of their dignity, freedom and security. Therefore, it often leads to womenstaying in or returning to violent relationships because they cannot sustain an adequate standard of living on their own. According to the World Health Organisation, exposures to traumatic events can lead to stress, fear and isolation, which, in turn, may lead to

depression and suicidal behaviours. Homelessness can further comprise psychological security because the insecurity that homelessness creates can exacerbate existing psychological issues from the trauma of violence. Survivor of domestic violence and once homeless, Monique Maitte, survivor of domestic violenceand has also experienced homelessness stresses that many of the complex support needs of women who are homeless: mental health issues, drug use and trauma, for example, stem from their experience of violence. She also stresses that sometimes power and control is replicated in some shelters because of the conditions in some shelters which can lead to further traumatisation. Clear evidencereveals that exposure to violence is an important determinant of poor health for women. It is important to discuss the rights of women because women are vulnerable to violence and discrimination. This is due to some social structures, traditions, stereotypes and attitudes about women and their role in society. Women often are not able to enforce their rights on the same basis as men. There is a clear link between violence against women, homelessness and poor mental health. The United Nations Human Rights of the High Commissionerarticulates that effectively ensuring women?s human rights requires, firstly, a comprehensive understanding of the social structures and power relations that frame not only laws and politics but also the economy, social dynamics and family and community life.

On Hex es, Wi tch ery & V i ol ence A gai nst Women Sabin Muzaffar invest igates t he reasons behind t he accusat ion of sorcery and it s violent implicat ions for women.

Women have been linked with witchcraft one way or another from eons of time. Depicted and shunned in both facts and fiction from the actual hangings of the so-called witches of Salem to Arthur Miller ?s depiction in his classic The Crucibles and even now being frowned upon, killed or stoned to death in many regions across the world, women bear the brunt of jealousies, power play, manipulation of facts for financial gains and even pure racial hatred all ensconced in the wrapper of sorcery. While women are accused of witchcraft many a times for financial benefits of the accuser especially in the rural areas where ignorance becomes a triggering factor, the Scientific American states that another accusation levied on to these poor women is their existence causes the rising infant mortality rate, deaths from typhoid, cholera and malaria. In Ghana for example, many women; accused to sorcery, live in segregated camps and choose not to return to their families fearing negative reaction from the community. According to India?s National Crime Record Bureau more than 2500 were hunted, tortured or killed between 2000-2016 accused of witchcraft, but activists claim the numbers to be higher. Tara Ahluwalia, a Bhilwara-based activist (India) is working for women?s rights in Rajasthan, and supports women who have been branded witches. What is curious to know is that more than 80% of these women belong to the Dalit community and are usually widows with either no male member in the family (sons) or have no family at all. Talking about the actual procedure of accusing a woman, Tara says: ?This crime is perpetrated mostly by the ?prabhavshaali? ? dominant ? persons of the village. The women branded as witches are either killed

Women are accused of witchcraft many a times for financial benefits of the accuser especially in the rural areas where ignorance becomes a triggering factor,

or are brutally tortured and ostracized by the village.? Adding: ?This can happen within families as well in order to grab the land that widows own.? The activist further says that she is yet to come across a single case of ?a Brahmin or a Mahajan woman? being branded a ?daayan? (a witch) According to Human Rights Advocate, Mandy Sanghera a UK based activist, who has raised awareness regarding the perils of accusing women of witchcraft: ?It is shocking to see people move to the west and still believe in such out of date practices. We all face difficulties , poor health but we can?t blame others for our misfortune.? On an average, more than 150 women die every year for being accused of sorcery as per Indian Police reports. Usually killed by their own families or typically a mob comprising neighbors and relatives, these women are burned, hacked or even bludgeoned to death. Ritual humiliation often precedes death.

?The feudal system, a rigid caste hierarchy and patriarchy encourage the practice, with illiteracy and superstition also to blame."

Continuously educating the community and working closely with the police, Tara says women have been beaten, knifed, sexually assaulted, stripped naked and paraded, thrown into wells, buried alive, set alight or disfigured with acid. ?The feudal system, a rigid caste hierarchy and patriarchy encourage the practice, with illiteracy and superstition also to blame,? she opines. History is replete with examples showcasing that accusing women of witchcraft is not restricted to one region alone, it is simply an excuse to blame ?witches?for everything from failed businesses, famine, illnesses, infertility, to death and disease. It is the product and consequence of greed, power and exploitation of the vulnerable in a patriarchal society.

Tara Ahluwalia,

Wh o Wi l l Hear M y Cry? Dilys Sillah is an Emotional Independence Life Coach, TEDx speaker, founder of the charity, ?Who Will Hear My ?Cry (WWHMC) and presenter of ?Another Perspective?at PowerXtra Radio. Dilys is also the author of the book, ?Predator Or Prince - How To Find The Man Of Your Dreams, Not Your Nightmares? . Dilys is passionate about working with people to help unlock mental and emotional blockages that hinder wholeness, confidence and emotional independence and wellbeing. Here, she writes a heartfelt note exclusively for Ananke; telling us why she launched her initiaitve.

My passion for the rights of women and children started a few years ago when I came across a story of the rape of a 19 year old by a prominent media personality in Ghana. My shock and disbelief weren?t about the rape per se, after all, we are all too often at the end of the insatiable desire to control, exploit and to abuse. It was the response to the rape within the community both in the England and in Ghana that rocked me to the core. The blaming, the shaming, the name calling of a girl nobody knew but felt they had a right to condemn and judge because of course, once you?re raped in a hotel room you must have been asking for it. I spoke out. I objected. I educated; and Who Will Hear My Cry (WWHMC) was birthed because I genuinely wanted to know who would hear the cries of such women and girls? Attitudes had to change, and people had to know that we couldn?t judge a victim based on location or age or anything other than the facts of what is presented and the testimony of a victim or a perpetrator. The violence I realised was being perpetrated against us wasn?t just about rape. What about the children having their sexual boundaries violated and disrespected and the women and girls being beaten by their husbands and partners just because they could? Raising awareness on rape, child abuse and domestic violence has had a huge impact in my home

The blaming, the shaming, the name calling of a girl nobody knew but felt they had a right to condemn and judge.

country in addressing the attitudes that makes it ok to turn a blind eye to abuse, but I?m also aware that there?s so much more to do. My book Predator Or Prince ? How To Find The Man Of Your Dreams, Not Your Nightmares was a further step to work in a preventative capacity in addressing the internal issues that could lead to women making poor relationship choices, and to address the domestic violence element of my work. This book was written to open the eyes of our women to avoid introducing sexual predators in the home to destroy the lives and futures of our children. WWHMC are now also working to promote emotional and mental health in children post trauma, because we recognise that even when the unthinkable happens, if we put in the right interventions, we can truly seek to take back the power that has been stolen from them.

I mportant Li nk s On Gender-based V i ol ence h ttps://


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