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!
Be ready to leave at the right time, when you feel safe. The decision is yours and you don’t have to allow anyone to influence you. To help you succeed, we’ve prepared a safety guide, including some of the most important aspects. We suggest that:
You are ready for emergencies.
Become familiar with abuse trigger signs.
Find the safe spaces in your house, where you can find refuge (avoid small, closed spaces, that you can’t leave, or rooms with potential weapons, such as the kitchen). Choose a room with a phone and a door or a window opening to the outside.
Establish a code (word or sign) to warn your children, friends or neighbours that you are in danger and that they should call the police.
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.
Should you find yourself in any of the situations below, you may be in an unhealthy relationship. If it becomes life-threatening, call 112 immediately and ask for help, or 0800 500 333 – the free 24/7 national line.
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 child”
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. “It’s 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.
“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.”
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.
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.
The Gender Equality Festival comes back on the 21st-23rd of September with an anniversary edition, the 12th edition!
The festival was the launching event of the Association of Liberty and Gender Equality – A.L.E.G. back in 2004 and since then it has remained one of the yearly recurring activities through which A.L.E.G. promotes in Sibiu’s community, especially among young persons, European values such as: equality between women and men, respect in relationships, tolerance and non-violence.