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Gender Equality Festival, how was the 13th edition?

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It’s a wrap for the 13th Edition of the Gender Equality Festival held by A.L.E.G in Sibiu, between 11-13 October. The lively event bottled up the energy of more than 40 volunteers, gathered life lessons brought by notable guests like Romanian authors & feminists Andreea Paul & Mihaela Miroiu, international artists like Dan Perjovschi, and filled the city streets with both joyful and educational activities designed for a diverse audience that consisted of teachers and school councils, future journalists and high school students.

 

By means of theater plays, interactive workshops like the Human Library, the Festival challenged its participants to an open dialog about the “communication gap between generations” and transformed the fight against gender discrimination in a personal battle that belongs to each and everyone of us.

 

📎 The overall vibe was that of fun and enthusiasm, even though the discussion topics were serious, like in the case of the film projection of the “Have I told you I was abused?” movie or the debate on domestic violence and sexual abuse held with Journalism students.

 

📎 Creativity was the main ingredient of the workshop for highschool students that were taught by Dan Perjovschi himself how to get give the Festival’s messages a visual form and transform the titles into images on the Horizontal Paper in Sibiu. The Festival’s Facebook Page was buzzing with online contests, gifs and even a Meme creation competition to get teens involved in the taking down gender preconceptions.

 

📎 The Forum Theater and Human Library completed the event’s busy agenda and contributed to its success and to opening up the communication gap. The screenplay focused on the relationship between parents and teens and their differences when it comes to choosing a future career for boys and girls. The happy ending was influenced by members of the audience. Over 100 people joined us at the Human Library to listen to the stories of 12 human books we had as guests from various areas of expertise, with different stories and experiences coming from their life long mission of overcoming gender stereotypes or sexual abuse. We held a book launch for Andreea Paul’s third volume named “ The civic power of women”, and we were glad to have the author as a human book after that, together with other well known names as Daniela Palade Teodorescu (editor in chief of Career Magazine, Daniela Drăghici (35 year long activist for sexual and reproductive health) Raluca Chișu  (KinetoBebe founder), Dan Perjovschi (international artist). Everyone of our human books was a living example on how to make a difference and change the world for the better.

 

As always, the Festival creates a splash in local activities, making quite a stir among children, teens, students, parents and more while taking on serious topics with fun learning activities and engaging events. Changing mentalities and fighting stereotypes is our superpower!

 

This year, the Gender Equality Festival was financed by #ÎNSTAREDEBINE – a program developed by the Foundation for the Civil Society’s Development – and co-financed by the Sibiu Council and City Hall.

 

 

It’s More Than a Festival, See Why!

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festivalul egalitatii de gen

 

 

 

Even though Sibiu is known for its many local and international festivals, the Gender Equality Festival is one of a kind. Those who didn’t have the chance to meet us by now should know that it’s more than a festival, it’s an experience that helps you grow.

 

By means of workshops like our Human Library, Forum Theater and film projections, participants have the chance to overcome their male and female stereotypes and to learn how to equally relate to one another.

 

We’re energizing the city streets, educating young people through interactive actions and we’re shedding some light on the stories that inspire us and provide hope for a better future with healthy, non violent relationships.

 

We bottled up all the energy, positive messages and entuziasm of the A.L.E.G. team and volunteers and we’re sending it to you via a special video that captures the most exciting moment of our Festival. Hit PLAY and see you there!

 

This year we partnered up with and are financed by #ÎNSTAREDEBINE – a program developed by the Foundation for the Civil Society’s Development – and the Sibiu Council and City Hall.

 

 

 

 

 

Borrow a person & find out his life story! See you at our Human Library!

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Biblioteca Vie

 

 

Discover the stories beyond book covers & pages!

 

 

Within the 2018 Gender Equality Festival,  A.L.E.G. hosts the Human Library Event that gathers people from the art, medical, business, education domains, authors and activists ready to answer all your questions.

 

The Human Library is not a new concept, being an interactive project created in 2000 in Denmark, having as a sole purpose to change people’s perceptions on stereotypes and preconceptions.

 

Saturday, 13 October, 5 p.m., at the Habitus Library, you have the chance to talk to our list of guests, who will be an open book for the audience, sharing both life lessons, words of wisdom and their experience. If your curiosity is on board, prepare your questions and come talk to the guests, there is no entry fee.

 

How does a Human Library work?

 

🕝 You can spend 20 minutes with our “book” of choice, after which you must return it to the library. This time can be extended by 10 minutes extra, upon request.

 

🔕 Please remember that the overall vibe of the event is one of a kind. That is why phones will not be a priority and the reader consents to the this next scenario: the book can leave the conversation if there is any harm done to his/her reputation or dignity.

 

The 2018 Book Inventory

 

This year’s theme for the Gender Equality Festival is about bridging the “communication gap between generations” by which we intend to open taboo topics related to gender equality and change young people’s perceptions about them.  Feel free to open any topic you have in mind with the human book you fancy the most.

 

We are really happy to have guests that are fighting gender stereotypes on a daily basis and who’s lifetime work is making this world a better place, day by day.

 

🔸 Andreea Paul is launching her book “The civic power of women” at Sibiu, the third piece dedicated to the Romanian contemporary women and is staying as a guest at our Human Library. The author was inspired by the brutally “Emotional Romanian realities that turned bad to good, hard to easy by means of civic action” and has gathered the stories of 100 civic activists,  like household names like Nadia Comăneci sau Melania Medeleanu, or names that remained unheard of until now. Come and meet Andreea Paul!

 

🔸 Daniela Drăghici (Advocacy Specialist, volunteer, Societatea de Educație Contraceptivă și Sexuală) brings on the energy and enthusiasm any time  sexual educations needs a new approach.

 

🔸 Our list of human books continues with Daniela Palade Teodorescu (Editor in chief of CARIERE magazine, ambassador of the Diversity Carta) that brings “anonymous heroines” to the spotlight, moms that create their own rights and change laws for the wellbeing of their kids, women with a strong civic sens that are solving a lot of issues the state seems unable to.

 

🔸 Loredana Kaschovits (Ted Speaker, founder of Luthelo) shares her touching story of overcoming domestic violence and starting over, and Claudia Bălan (Sex Education teacher, Tineri pentru Tineri) brings a ton of stories she encountered in more than 17 years of working in teens coming of age and their sexuality.

 

🔸“Real men are feminists” and this is why our guest list couldn’t be perfect without a strong male presence from which to learn. Adi Beu (Psihoteraphist, trainer), Dan Câmpean (Teacher) and Dan Perjovschi (Artist, writer, journalist and performance author) join our event for one night of open minded talks.

 

🔸 Mihaela Miroiu (Feminist, Univ. prof. at Școala Națională de Studii Politice și Administrative), Camelia Proca (A.L.E.G president, co-author of “Forța Civică a Femeilor”), Elena Ucenic (OBGYN) și Raluca Chișu (Kinetobebe, co author of “Forța Civică a Femeilor”) complete the guest list of our Human Library and stir up the conversation on labels, gender stereotypes and wrong assumptions that are passed down through generations.

 

This Human Library is the place where stories have the shape of a human face, words come to life and the lessons stay with you. Join us in this beautiful adventure!

 

This year we partnered up with and are financed by #ÎNSTAREDEBINE – a program developed by the Foundation for the Civil Society’s Development – and cofinanced by the Sibiu Council and City Hall.

 

 

God, It’s me, Mary and I don’t want them to take my family away!

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referendum

 

 

God,

 

It’s me, Mary, one of the 3 million Romanian women that occasionally deal with physical and sexual abuse. Some daily, rather than on occasions. And it’s not coming from some stranger or degenerate raised by gay parents. In my case, it was my husband, a “nice” boy that grew up in a family so traditional that his mom would give his dad all her earned money, without excuse.

 

Remember my childhood dreams about a family of my own? In my opinion, family always meant joint decisions about raising our kids, and managing a household together. For my ex, having the last word was mandatory, even when he wasn’t right. I was 3 month pregnant when he first shoved me into an iron fence because I suggested our money would be better spent on pregnancy vitamins rather that his daily pack of cigarettes. It only got worse from there on. What was a family for him, meant prison for me. You only know, God, how difficult it was for me to take my 3 year old baby girl, and leave.

 

Now I hear about this new referendum to change the Constitution to clearly state that “family” can be constituted of the union between a man and a woman. It almost brought a laugh: what would this do for me? Family that treats you bad is not a family. Write that in the Constitution and I promise to vote every time they want me to!  Tell that to the priest, the pastor, the school teacher to pass it on. We were man and wife with no happy ending, no good use… Since our divorce, over an year ago, it’s just the two of us: my daughter and I. We’re a real family, a loving, caring family that gets along like two peas in a pot. Grandma is the third woman of our family and truthfully, we couldn’t manage without her. We hold Romanian traditions close to our hearts, same as you, God! But now, we will be considered a family only if I get married again? You of all know that I only ask for some peace and quiet. Yet, I fear that I’ll might loose the help I’m getting from the Single Parents Association after this referendum, who knows what’s next?

 

Anyway, this whole referendum issue has given light to a lot of hatred and anger. I know brothers that no longer speak  after one said that the other is a pedophile supporter. In my book, a pedophile was that gym teacher that was groping 7 year old girls, but since he was married, and to woman, nobody cared to notice. So, my question is how does our Constitution defend us from pedophiles?

 

God, you who know what people hide even from themselves, at least make those that started this referendum, paid from the country’s reserve, love their own children. If you genuinely love your kids, you can’t help but think at the future. And it’s beyond your powers to state who he/she falls in love with, or wants to marry. Shame or other people’s opinion are no longer your concern, since you only want your kid to be happy. Happy people don’t hurt others. God, please help us get rid of all these unhappy people that do so much harm!

 

 

The Gender Equality Festival is back, don’t miss it! 11-13 October

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festivalul egalitatii de gen

 

 

 

The Association of Liberty and Gender Equality – A.L.E.G. shatters gender stereotypes for the 13th year in a row through the Gender Equality Festival, taking place in Sibiu between 11-13 October.

 

 

This year’s theme is about bridging the “communication gap between generations” by which we intend to open taboo topics related to gender equality and change young people’s perceptions about them.

 

Stereotypes are deeply rooted ideas about the role man and woman have in today’s society and are passed on from one generation to another. By opening the dialog between generations we are making room from healthy non-violent relationships.

 

💬  Main goal: Educating teens on gender equality. Exchanging ideas and life lessons. Open minded conversations by means of out of the box environments and activities.

 

💬  Side effects: Reinterpretation of existing opinions, rethinking values and getting young people involved in turning gender equality from a battle to a reality. Easily identifying gender stereotypes and learning how to fight against them through zero tolerance attitudes towards violence.

 

💬  Surprising effects: Collective shout out to creativity and critical thinking. Teamwork and fun.

 

This year we partnered up with and are financed by #ÎNSTAREDEBINE – a program developed by the Foundation for the Civil Society’s Development – and co-financed by the Sibiu Council and City Hall.

 

The festival’s busy and interactive full agenda can be found here.

 

We’re starting with a movie projection of the “Have I told you I have been abused?” , an Yugoslavian title that promises an array of human emotions brought by the harsh reality of sexual abuse.

 

The newspaper theater held together with journalism students aims to make them aware of the consequences of their future articles and current mass media trending titles.

 

We’re meeting artist Dan Perjovschi at his wall to see how simple images carry powerful messages and visual stories come to life and we plan on having some fun with high school kids in a meme contest based on daily gender stereotypes. The festival also hosts a forum theater, a live library full of meaningful life lessons and a pantomime show. See you there!

 

 

 

 

Join the Survivors’ Network

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Survivors’ Forum, the first national forum in Romania dedicated to women who have experienced domestic violence, took place on March 7th in Bucharest. Watch here the video of the event. Over 50 women who were interested to meet other survivors and share their own stories about overcoming abuse responded to our invitation. Participants coming from Bucharest, Iaşi, Cluj, Braşov, Sibiu, Craiova, Lupeni, Timişoara interacted with great interest and demonstrated that Romania has a huge resource of strength and courage, precisely where most people only see weakness: in the women who experienced with violence from their partner. Every woman who stands up and dares to break the silence about intimate-partner abuse, despite the threats and humiliation she faces,  should be considered powerful, not weak.

Domestic violence is like a cage that gradually cancels out your freedom. A girl’s dream of having a family prevails – as from early childhood we are told that this is the only way we can lead accomplished lives –and many women do not realize they are abused. “I thought violence was about broken ribs,” says Loredana Kaschovits. “When I dared to confess for the first time that I might be a victim, I felt like I was betraying my family,” says Crina. “Everyone around me was getting beaten” remembers Alina, but the desire not to repeat her mother’s unfortunate destiny motivated her to stop accepting this treatment. All these women dared to step into the unknown; although it has been very hard, they have managed to transform their lives. Many of them still face the stigma of being a single mother, as Cynthia Loris’s shows in her art exhibition VIO and the stories of single free mothers.

We asked the participants what improvements are needed in order to have more women escape violence before it is too late. First of all, they say, it would help to have a drastic change of attitude on the part of the government and public institutions: when a woman calls for help, she should be welcomed, encouraged and told that violence is the fault of the perpetrator, not hers. Those who interact with women should stop blaming the victim and stop asking her questions as though she would be guilty of a crime.  They should stop discouraging the women when they call the police, their statements need to be taken separately from the aggressor and they should stop screaming at the women. The police should follow the protection orders: it is not enough to issue the order, to evacuate the aggressor; the violations of the protection order by the aggressors must be seriously sanctioned; otherwise protection does not exist. The message is valid for everyone around us: not to share a common ground with the aggressors. Ana Bella Estevez, the woman who started a real phenomenon in Spain, helping thousands of women to get out of the abuse, told that for 11 years her suffering was invisible to her relatives, who saw the traces of violence but chose not to ask about them. Whenever a perpetrator is not held accountable, whenever justification is sought, we do nothing but encourage violence, raise those who commit it, and lower the women who bear it.

Women who have been through violence say it is important that intervention is specialized: police structures, legal court, support services. Those who come in contact with abused people should first be trained for this and refrain from inappropriate comments, by expressing their own prejudices. This also applies to judges, in the process of gaining custody of children, or in the proceedings for the issue of the protection order. In cases of separation involving children, aggressors use the little ones almost always, to maintain control of the former partner. Judges should be aware of this, women say.

One of the most important needs discussed at the Forum is the organization of survivors’ communities: psychological support groups, as well as groups of women who are actually helping, for example by accompanying other women to the police when they want to make a complaint or when they have a process to the court of justice. One week after our meeting, the survivors’ have already done a closed facebook group, which they called the Survivors’ Network, through which they continue to communicate with each other. One of them proposed that the survivors’ living in the same city should develop a local help guide: what are the services you can rely on, which lawyers have experience in the field, with which kindergartens they had positive experiences, or, on the contrary, what other women should avoid. Support groups for women who have been confronted with domestic violence exist in Sibiu, managed by A.L.E.G., and in Bucharest, managed by ANAIS. As a next step, A.L.E.G. will contribute to the development of local support groups of survivors and support communities in which they can encourage each other and build a common voice. The communication campaign #șieureușesc will grow and bring into the public eye as many examples of women who have managed to get rid of abuse. Interested women can contact us at contact@aleg-romania.eu or call +4 0753 893 531.

This is part of the project “From Victim to Survivor”, run by the Association for Liberty and Equalityy of Gender (A.L.E.G.) with support from Ashoka Romania through the Ashoka Localizer program and funded by Global Rights for Women (Global Voices Initiative) and AVON. The project aims to adapt in Romania the Ana Bella model from Spain, about which you can find information here.

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Sibiu Marathon 2018 – Running for ”I talk to my child about abuse”

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Good news! Our project, I talk to my child about abuse, has been accepted to be one of the 25 causes that you can run for at 2018 Sibiu International Marathon!

Recent statistics show that, in Romania, 6 children are sexually abused every day. 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls will face some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18. Beyond stats, this is also confirmed by the from stories entrusted to us, between tears of frustration and helplessness, in A.L.E.G.’s “blue room”, where our psychological counselling sessions take place. Many parents showed their need to learn how to protect their children from sexual abuse and how to talk to them about these taboo topics.

And since it is a subject surrounded by silence, both at home, and at school, there is a series of wide-spread, very dangerous myths.

Myth 1. It cannot happen to my child2

Danger lies much closer than we think. Figures show that only 10% of sexual abusers are unknown, 23% are other children, while 67% of sexual abuses are perpetrated by somebody who has access to the child and who is wee-known to the little one. Abuse takes place in seemingly safe places. In most cases of abuse, children are under 5 years old.

Myth 2. Its better to stay away from this topic.

As it is a sensitive subject, parents avoid talking to their children about protecting their body. Out of shame, they fail to give them early sexual education. Others often say “it is too early”. It is important that we think about the consequences, the costs that our children will pay because of the lack of parental education.

Through our project, 180 parents and teachers in the municipality of Sibiu, as well as in towns and villages in the county of Sibiu will benefit from parental education sessions, held by experienced psychologists, who will help them acquire the necessary abilities to prevent sexual abuse on children and young people.

It is best that parents and teacher make sure children get the right information, so that they do not become victims of sexual abuse. According to and old saying, „it takes a village to raise a child” – a community of responsible, attentive, and sympathetic people!

More information about our cause you can find here >  http://maratonsibiu.ro/en/i-talk-to-my-child-about-abuse-8264/

Do you want to be one of our heroes? You can register as a runner here > http://maratonsibiu.ro/inscriere-alergator/?cauza=36

Do you want to support a runner, so he can find the power to finish the race? You can register here: http://maratonsibiu.ro/inscriere-sustinator/?cauza=36

Romanian Survivors Forum

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Romanian Survivors’ Forum

March 7th, Bucharest

“Hello! My name is Loredana Kaschovits, and I am a survivor of domestic violence. My ex-husband used to humiliate me every day and I accepted everything, because I believed domestic violence only includes serious physical beatings, thinking about those grave types of abuse which came up in the media. But, one day, somebody gave me a list of types of abuse. It felt like an earthquake – I found myself in so many of them. It’s true that I found it hard to break away, and I made several attempts to leave him. before but finally I succeeded: I took my kids and left, without knowing where we would live and how, as I had no job, nor a house. But today I have my own business and I earn enough money to live a decent life doing what I love. I remarried, I am happy, respected, and I know that I can help other women find the strength that lies inside them.

On March 7th, The Association for Liberty and Equality of Gender – A.L.E.G. is organizing in Bucharest the Romanian Survivors’ Forum, a meeting dedicated to women who have been through violence, where they can share their experiences, and be recognized for their courage and power to survive. Based on their positive examples, women who are still fighting violence can gather the strength to break the silence and trust that they too can do it. We know that 1 out of 4 women are victims of violence at some point in their lives, but we talk too little about the women who have survived domestic violence and what they have to say.

The main objectives of the Forum are: (1) to collect survivors’ views about what quality support means; (2) to acknowledge the strength of women who have overcome violence and encourage them to get to know each other, unite their voices and form support networks; (3) to promote a change of attitude towards women facing violence emphasizing their strengths rather than their weaknesses.

Loredana will be one of the speakers at the forum, along with other extraordinary women. A special guest is Ana Bella, from Spain, a domestic violence survivor, who has helped over 20,000 women find their strength to transform their lives and find fulfilling jobs that meet their dreams.

The event is organised by the Association for Liberty and Equality of Gender (A.L.E.G), with support from Ashoka Romania through the program Ashoka Localizer, and funding through the Voices Against Violence GBV Global Initiative and AVON.

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Art Exhibition “Vio and the Stories of Free Mothers”

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The campaign “I Can Do It Too” launched by A.L.E.G. to support women facing domestic violence enjoys the support and involvement of local artists and entrepreneurs. In the timeframe 2-10 December 2017, the Council Tower hosted the exhibition “VIO – the Stories of Single Free Mothers”, by artist Cynthia Loris in partnership with A.L.E.G. The artist chose a venue that difficult to reach (the top floor of the the Council Tower) on purpose, to convey through the giddiness and the weight of each step made on the steep stairs, the way abused women feel on their road to safety. This is the first time that the experiences of several survivors are turned into works of art. To observe confidentiality, the exhibition does not reveal any information that could lead to the identification of the people involved.

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One piece suggestively called ‘How Many KM2 of Bruises Has the Ruler at the M.E.’s Office Measured?” was inspired by the dimensions of bruises, as documented in a forensic certificate of a survivor. According to the Sibiu Forensic Medicine Office in Sibiu in 2017, 117 women victims of domestic violence have requested a forensic certificate. The exhibition includes works inspiring people to believe that together we can overcome domestic violence.

Instead of an opening night, the audience was invited to a closing event, to show that the repetitive situation of violence can come to an end. The closing event took place on Friday, December 8th, starting 4 p.m., on the top floor of the Council Tower.

Works of art and description VIO_exhibition

Courage is characteristic of women who manage to start over by themselves, just as it is a defining feature of entrepreneurs. We are happy to have found not only artists, but also enterprisers sensitive to the topic of family violence. The natural cosmetics compan

sapun luthelo

y Luthelo has marked our campaign through a special end-of-year batch of soaps, called Optimism and Trust, for faithful customers. Thus, 120 customers have received these gifts, alongside the message “I Can Do It Too” and information materials to help identify the various forms of violence. They are meant to help a friend clarify whether they are in a violent situation and inform them of where to go for help. The company Medical Corp supports the A.L.E.G. campaign by fitting their offices with a donation box, raising funds for women facing family violence. The campaign started in November with the Horizontal Newspaper activity “Success Stories That Do Not Make The Headlines”, organized thanks to the artist Dan Perjovschi, and with the “Vigil Night for Silent Witnesses” organized by the A.L.E.G. team in the Sibiu city centre.

Audio report (in Romanian) by Radio România Cultural:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t45NkhdITA

“I Can Do It Too” – Support for Women Facing Domestic Violence

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Every year, around the 25th of November, the Association for Liberty and Equality of Gender – A.L.E.G. marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This year, A.L.E.G. organizes the campaign #ȘiEuReușesc (I Can Do It Too), aimed at encouraging women experiencing partner violence to break the silence and trust that they can live a life free of the violence.

The campaign started with the call “Tell Us How You Did It”, launched on the Facebook page alegromania. This is an invitation for women who have gotten out of an abusive situation to share their story, without revealing personal identification data. On November 24th, inspirational pieces of these stories will be posted on the Horizontal Newspaper next to the Radu Stanca National Theatre of Sibiu, thanks to the artist Dan Perjovschi, one of the main supporters of the A.L.E.G. campaign.

On the same Friday, at 4 p.m., at the fountain of Nicolae Bălcescu Street, the A.L.E.G. volunteers will issue a wake-up call to the community of Sibiu through the Vigil Night for Silent Witnesses. The silent witnesses are red figures symbolically representing women who have lost their lives because of domestic violence. Each figure bears the story of a real case, most of which had a long history of violence. Constantly blamed they might ruin their family, victims put up with everything, while everyone around them often chooses not to get involved, although many times they know what’s going on. After reading these stories, we would like the public to go home with a new-found motivation to take action, because many lives can be saved if offered help in due time.

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As support services are important, on November 27th, A.L.E.G. will launch a support group for women facing abusive relations. A support group is a form of counselling led by a psychologist, which helps people overcome trauma by showing them they are not alone. Participation is free; to register, call 0753 893 531 or e-mail us at aleg_romania@yahoo.comFor further details, access www.aleg-romania.eu

In 2-10 December, the campaign continues with the exhibition VIO and the Stories of Single Free Mothers, by artist Cynthia Loris and A.L.E.G. The exhibition will take place at the top floor of the Council Tower. It is the first time that real violence experiences of several women are turned into pieces of art, with the purpose of talking about freedom. The piece suggestively called ‘How Many KM2 of Bruises Has the Ruler at the M.E.’s Office Measured?” was inspired by the dimensions of bruises, as documented in a forensic certificate. According to the Sibiu Forensic Medicine Office in Sibiu, this year, 117 women victims of domestic violence have requested a forensic certificate.

The campaign #ȘiEuReușesc is part of the project “From Victim to Survivor”, financed by Global Rights for Women and Vital Voices with the help of Global Funds for Women. The campaign is partnering with  Ashoka Romania through the program Ashoka Localizer and is supported by the famous Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi.

 

A.L.E.G. offers free counselling and legal assistance to victims of gender-based violence.