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PROJECT “My Body My Own –
Sexual Violence among Youth:
Raising Awareness and Counseling Center”

Survey

Objective

to increase the access of youth in risk situations to information services regarding sexual violence and to provide integrated specialized assistance to victims of sexual violence through information and awareness activities for youth and for specialists (doctors, social workers, school counselors, police officers, etc.) in Sibiu and Mureș counties, but also through the establishment of a pilot assistance center in Sibiu for the sexual violence victims.

Implementation period

15 April 2014 – 14 October 2015

Funding

SEE 2009-2014 grants, within the NGO Fund for Romania

Partners

Stigamot (Iceland), East European Institute for Reproductive Health (Târgu Mureş), Sibiu County School Inspectorate, Mureş County School Inspectorate, Sibiu General Direction of Social Assistance and Child Protection, Ema Association (Braşov).

Why is this project necessary?

  1. A serious problem silenced
  • In Romania, 7% of women say they have suffered some form of sexual violence after the age of 15. Reported to the country’s female population, this means over 700.000 women (source: Fundamental Rights Agency)
  • Sexual violence also affects boys, especially minors or particularly vulnerable youth
  • According to UN Women (Fact-sheet on Sexual Violence, 2010), 50% of sexual aggressions happen before the age of 16, thus the youth are a significant risk group.
  • Sexual violence is one of the most destructive form of gender violence. In Romania, it is the least recognized form and the least reported as abuse, because of social rules (which cause the victim to be shamed and blamed, rather than the aggressor), because of double victimization (when a victim files a complaint, he/she is submitted to new traumatizing situations during the legal procedures) and because of lack of specialized services where victims could benefit from support and counseling.
  1. Lack of support services, in spite of legal obligations
  • Beginning with 2015, Romania has the duty to implement Directive 2012/29/EU on crime victims, which distinctively refers to gender violence, and the Romanian police and courts will have to refer the victims of crimes “with high risk of secondary victimization”, like sexual violence is, to specialized assistance services.
  • In Romania, there are no rape crisis centers or counseling centers specialized on sexual violence. These services are just starting to develop, even though the Council of Europe standards require one place in a rape crisis center for every 20.000 inhabitants, with a good local distribution.
  1. The need to inform specialists and people who may come into contact with victims
  • A 2013 World Health Organization study regarding sexual violence recommends that the medical system is involved and empowered to identify sexual violence and refer victims to support services. Thus, the collaboration between police officer/prosecutor, social assistant/psychologist and medical staff is essential in integrated intervention. What is more, priests in all local communities can have an important role in avoiding the victim to blame and to refer him/her to support services.

Activities

Information and awareness campaign

  • Duration: 12 months
  • 10 localities in Sibiu and Mureş
  • Target groups: young people (14-29 years old), specialists who can advise the victim (social workers, psychologists, doctors, police officers etc.)

For YOUTH – educational sessions based on non-formal education methods (duration 90 minutes), during which we will also use:

      • educational films – the meaning of consent, how to express and respect consent, risk behavior vs. positive behavior
      • Sexual Violence handbook: recognize manifestations, avoid, offer support

For SPECIALISTS – local meetings focused on avoiding secondary victimization, understanding causes and effects, during which we will also use:

      • information and awareness packagesthe meaning of consent, how to express and respect consent, risk behavior vs. positive behavior

Pilot assistance center for victims of sexual violence

    • Online information and counseling. Access here
    • Psychological counseling
    • Legal assistance
    • Paying for medical certificates when necessary

Consequences of sexual violence

Information from Stigamot (Iceland) casuistry in the last 20 years show that the victims of sexual violence most often choose to silence the traumatizing events they went through. Thus, more than 80% of victims do not report the abuse they went through and do not discuss what happened to them with other people. The main reasons for which the victim does not speak about their violence experience:

  • I was ashamed” 85%
  • I thought it was my fault” 75%
  • I did not dare describe what happened to me” 35%

The emotional, behavioral and cognitive consequences what the victims of sexual violence feel are multiple and extremely serious. The figure below shows the most frequent such consequences:

consequences

It should be noted that, besides anxiety, sadness and low self-esteem, shame and guilt are in the top of this sad statistics of consequences felt by the victims of sexual violence.

Result and deliverable

My Body My Own – At home

Video produced under the project My Body My Own – Sexual Violence among Youth: Raising Awareness and Counseling Center, project financed with SEE 2009-2014 grants, within the NGO Fund for Romania.

My Body My Own – 5 o’clock

Video produced under the project My Body My Own – Sexual Violence among Youth: Raising Awareness and Counseling Center, project financed with SEE 2009-2014 grants, within the NGO Fund for Romania.

My Body My Own – At Sunset

Video produced under the project My Body My Own – Sexual Violence among Youth: Raising Awareness and Counseling Center, project financed with SEE 2009-2014 grants, within the NGO Fund for Romania.

Educational Handbook: Sexual Violence: recognise, prevent, discourage, help

Project Outcomes in Brief: In the timeframe  1 Nov. 2014- 14 Nov. 2015, the Caravan „My Body My Own” reached 902 students from 11 different urban and rural communities at risk of violence from Sibiu, Mureș, Brașov and Vrancea counties, during 17 educational sessions for prevention of sexual violence which included screening of the educational film My Body My Own. In each local community the caravan organized meetings for local professionals in order to raise awareness on ways to pro-actively identify cases of sexual violence, ensure a gender-sensitive approach, prevent secondary victimisation and empshasized the importance of ensuring the access of survivors to specialised support services. The pilot counseling center for survivors of sexual violence was used by 115 beneficiaries, of which over 90% women and girls. Of them, 65 chose the option of online counseling services, 42 requested information over the phone. All the persons who contactacted us received information and counseling in order to recognize if they are in an abusive situation, understand the specific forms, causes and effects of sexual violence, learn about victims’rights and how to access these rights. We were able to help 5 survivors with legal aid (of which 3 with free legal representation in court), and 3 with re-imbursement of the costs of forensic certificates as proofs in court. 3 survivors accessed long term psychological counseling. We also helped 5 women with reimbursement of costs with medical services not covered by medical ensurance. Project Outcomes in Brief

The contents of this website section do not necessarily represent the official position of the SEE 2009-2014 grants. The responsibility for the correctness and coherence of the information presented lies wholly with the website initiator. For official information regarding the SEE and Norwegian grants, access www.eeagrants.org
Project financed through the SEE 2009-2014 grants, in the NGO Fund for Romania.