“Brave together” is the belief that brought together the members of the Survivors’ Network in Bucharest, on the 7th of June, at the second edition of the Survivors’ Forum, initiated by A.L.E.G as meeting place for women who have been through domestic violence and are now willing to support other women who are going through abusive relationships.
Together with our 50 participants, we traveled through the history of the year past since our last Forum to see how the Program #ȘiEuReușesc (I can do it too) developed and to remember the milestones in which we gave each other power and support. One of the women that was helped by the Survivors’ Network is Ioana, and the Forum was her first encounter with Bucharest, the capital of Romania, and the first time she stayed in a hotel. Ioana is from a rural area and she lived for 20 years with a severely violent husband. She heard of the Network last year and wrote asking for help to several survivors whom she had seen on television. A survivor from Brașov helped her leave with her four children to a shelter where she could stay for a few days to decide what to do next. At the Forum they told the story of this movie-like rescue mission. Ioana had then decided that she would feel safer in another city, so a survivor from Sibiu helped her move, find a job and even a school for her children.
The apartment in which Ioana lives today was furnished and equipped after a call for donations made by the survivor from the network among her acquaintances – some brought a table, other blankets or dishes. A.L.E.G. volunteers offered to accompany the woman and her kids through the city and to help them get them familiar with the new place. Her husband continues to threaten her through the children he visits at school (which is why we cannot reveal her identity), but she took her own life in her hands and receives counselling for herself and the children. Ioana is an example of how the Survivors’ Network increases the chances of women to free themselves from violence by working along and beyond classical services (shelter, counselling centre), ensuring the added value of reassurance and inspiration that comes from other women who have overcome violent situations.
The network is steadily growing, and this year a project is being developed to build a #SiEuReusesc community in Bucharest. Women who have overcome violence can choose to engage in different roles in the network, depending on what suits her best:
- The role of ambassador of the cause, who is speaking publicly about how she managed to escape violence, to inspire others.
- The role of resource person in a local support group, to help other women in a counselling context.
- The role of “Big Sister” who helps with practical advice and accompaniment another woman who is still looking for her way out of violence.
If you would like to get involved in one of these roles or to help in some way, please send us a message at > firstname.lastname@example.org
“Why Survivor? This word responds best to our intention not to perceive women who face violence only as vulnerable and weak, but as women who also have an uncommon resistance, a force that if they come to use it not to suffer, but to get rid of violence, and later to help other women, can be invincible.” says project initiators.
The Romanian Survivors’ Forum (II) is an event organized by A.L.E.G. (www.aleg-romania.eu) supported by the IKEA Fund for Gender Equality, funded by IKEA Romania and managed by the Bucharest Community Foundation.
Local Partners: Pas Alternativ Association (Brașov), ANAIS Association (Bucharest) and GR.AB (Satu Mare)
More program details here: https://sieureusesc.ro/en