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(English) SUPPORT our Counseling Center for Victims of sexual violence at the 2015 Sibiu Half Marathon

on 16 May 2015

11127869_994973837187357_1359528064689542962_nThe project ensures a service that is unique in Romania: free psychological and legal assistance, including court representation for people who went through a form of sexual violence. Most sexual violence victims do not talk to anyone about what happened to them and it is very rarely that they get help because of shame and self-blaming. Those who do decide to file a complaint go through re-traumatizing experiences and need to be supported without being judged.
The non-profit Association for Liberty and Gender Equality – A.L.E.G. has been offering support for victims of gender based violence for 10 years and carrying out information and awareness campaigns on gender equality and violence prevention. We have also been involved in lobby and advocacy activities, in an attempt to improve national legislation. In 2014, we initiated the first NGO network focusing on sexual violence: “Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence”, taking action in cases when the authorities don’t act appropriately. At European level, A.L.E.G. is a member of the coordinating committee of WAVE and a member of ASTRA (regional network for sexual and reproductive rights and health in Central and Eastern Europe).
As of 2015, A.L.E.G. has been accredited as a social services provider and can provide the following services:
–          Counseling and therapy for victims of gender based violence
–          Educative and awareness raising activities on gender equality and the prevention of violence against women, especially targeted on youngsters
The need/problem that the project approaches
Many Romanian women have, at some point in their life, been through some form of sexual violence, be it obscene language or unwanted touches on the street, at school, at their workplace or, even worse, they have been coerced (sometimes by someone they knew) to have unwanted sexual acts. We avoid talking about all these, thus they are hidden aspects of our lives that keep happening: it happens to us and to our daughters as well. According to a FRA study, 38% of Romanian women have been through sexual or physical violence and 24% of them before they were 15 years old.
These are traumatic events that affect all levels of our lives, which is why it is important to be able to talk to a professional about what happened in order to get over the feelings of guilt, self-blame, anger and anxiety or other problems that may come up, such as sleep and eating disorders. In Romania, there is no helpline specialized on violence against women, nor rape crisis centers, as is the case in other European countries.
Beneficiaries and target group
Girls and young women from various social environments, pupils and students, women from rural and urban areas will be the main direct beneficiaries. Boys can also be victims of sexual violence, especially youngsters in vulnerable groups, as other those in placement centers. Our service is also used by people other than the victims, who want to find out how to help a friend or a family member in such a situation. We are contacted by about 75 people each year.
Project objectives
The project aims at increasing the access of the community to specialized information and support services aimed at getting over traumas associated to violence.
Changes that the project will bring to society
An innovative social system trying to cover the lack of specialized services for victims of sexual violence. Our services are free of charge and include:

  • – online counseling that can be accessed at https://aleg-romania.eu/consiliere/,
  • – Individual psychological counseling, support groups, legal counseling and court representation,
  • – paying for legal medical certificates or medical assistance (e.g. tests to find possible infections, emergency treatment etc.)
  • The setting up of a specialized service was possible within the project “My Body, My Own” – Sexual Violence among Youngsters: awareness raising and counseling center, funded through EEA grants 2009-2014, within the NGO Fund for Romania
  • Supporting at least 30 people affected by sexual violence to get over the trauma and/or to take legal action
  • 350 people from Sibiu, mainly youngsters, informed on the topic of sexual violence prevention and intervention and support methods when someone is abused.

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admin-aleg(English) SUPPORT our Counseling Center for Victims of sexual violence at the 2015 Sibiu Half Marathon

Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence – conference

on 28 April 2015

Althouafis_A4_eng-01gh 4 out of 20 women in Romania were subject to a form of sexual violence, the issue is still invisible at policy level when it comes to access to justice and services for survivors, and linked to serious impunity for perpetrators. To break away from this silence awarness is needed at all  levels, and work needs to be done from top- down – to design survivor oriented policies, as well as at community level with specialized services and prevention campaigns. With funding support of EEA Grants, under the NGO Fund in Romania,  A.L.E.G. initiated two projects on sexual violence: a project developing the first network of NGOs on this topic, (Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence) and a project developing a pilot center offering support to survivors and educational  programs ( prevention) in local communities (My Body My Own). Both projects were developed and implemneted in partnership with Stigamot from Iceland, a feminist organization with over 25 years of experience in helping survivors.

Two important events were organized throughout 20-24th of April 2015 in the framework of these projects. One event took place in Bucharest as a public seminar where Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence Network launched a Call to Action signed by 15 NGOs and targetting the decision makers at national level. For the first time, members of Parliament and of the Government shared their own stories of abuse. Women’s rights  also NGOs received the draft law for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention as a sign of active support and committment on the behalf of decision-makers.20150421_100718(1)

Working on change at community level, a second event took place in Sibiu and gathered over 40 social service providers, police officers, teachers and councillors and offered practical workshops and case study work, in order to promote cross-sector cooperation and professional conduct that avoids re-victimization.

Change needs to start from how  prevention work on sexual violence is understood and designed and A.L.E.G and Stigamot propose to shift the focus more to boys and men. The amount of guilt we cast on the survivors is equal to the amount of tollerance we have for the perpetrators and itis this that keeps us from moving forward towards elimination of violence against women.

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Abrudean AlexandraBreaking the Silence on Sexual Violence – conference

The GEAR against IPV The GEAR against IPV approach (Gender Equality Awareness Raising against Intimate Partner Violence)

on 20 March 2015

gearThe GEAR against IPV

The GEAR against IPV approach (Gender Equality Awareness Raising against Intimate Partner Violence) is a coordinated action of primary and secondary prevention of Intimate Partner Violence in adolescents’ relationships through interventions in the school or in other settings, that are guided by specially designed educational material and are aimed at secondary school students’ awareness raising and empowerment by specially trained teachers.

The main aim is to promote the development of healthy and equal relationships between the sexes and the development of zero tolerance towards violence by raising teens’ awareness on:

a) the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships

b) the influence that gender stereotypical attitudes and socially imposed gender roles have on their relationships

c) how power inequality between the sexes is related to psychological, physical and/or sexual abuse against women/girls and

d)  how adolescents can contribute to the prevention of all forms of gender-based violence.

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Abrudean AlexandraThe GEAR against IPV The GEAR against IPV approach (Gender Equality Awareness Raising against Intimate Partner Violence)

B-SIDE:Barrier to Stop the In-door Domino Effect for children who witness domestic violence, 2014

on 13 March 2015

The project B-side, a barrier to stop the indoor domino effect for children who witness domestic violence (CWDV): experiences and guidelines sought the implementation of specific interventions for the recovery of the relationship between women victims of domestic violence and their children witnesses of this violence.

Project homepage: http://www.cwdv-abarriertostopindoordominoeffect.eu/en/

The phenomenon of Children Witnessing Domestic Violence is classified among the forms of childhood abuse, and is part of the Istanbul Convention – which came into force in August 2014 and was signed by the Romanian government. However, its extent and effect is still highly underestimated, both from the point of view of social recognition, but also considering the need for an adequate response in terms of protection and care of children and their mothers, through appropriate laws and specific policies.

Objectives , comparing the experiences of different countries at European level, in order to:

– set up Recovery Programmes aimed at helping both mother and child to overcome the traumatic experience they have suffered, to rebuild their self-confidence as individuals and support the mother – child relationship as a family, in order for them to be able to face the reconstruction of their future in serenity;

– develop a single method to evaluate and monitor the impact on the beneficiaries involved in the different countries;

–  promote greater knowledge and awareness of the issue in public opinion and propose new intervention methods for public workers and those in the private social sector.

The project  gave the opportunity  to identify both intervention and evaluation methods which can be repeated in other European countries independently of the specific conditions existing in the different context. Each partner, through a blog-forum for workers in this sector (such as employees in the Juvenile Tribunals, social services, paediatricians, school teachers, anti-violence workers) and a similar one also for the wider public, can interact and share documents and considerations, allowing others to better understand the phenomenon and the problems associated with domestic violence against women and children, as well as possible tools which can be used to stop the transmission of the violence between generations.

Here you find the final pubblication Experiences-and-guidelines_a-barrier-to-stop-indoor-domino-effect-children-witness-domestic-violence where you can find the information and the activites implemented by the partners in all countries involved.

The B-SIDE Project was set up by the Pangea Foundation in partnership with other Italian and European associations: the Lilith Women’s Centre in Latina (Italy), the Association of Assistance for Sexually Abused and Gender Violence Victims A.D.A.V.A.S of Salamanca (Spain) of Salamanca (Spain), the Women’s Rights Association “NANE” in Budapest (Hungary); along with the participation as associate partner of the Association for Freedom and Equality of Sexes “A.L.E.G.” of Sibiu (Romania).

Project funded by the European Commission as part of the DAPHNE III Programme.

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Abrudean AlexandraB-SIDE:Barrier to Stop the In-door Domino Effect for children who witness domestic violence, 2014

My Body My Own

on 31 August 2014

 

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).

[wpspoiler name=”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.

[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”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

[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”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.

[/wpspoiler]

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.

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Abrudean AlexandraMy Body My Own

Gender Equality Festival 2014

on 29 August 2014

Equality starts with you!

Why a Gender Equality Festival?
Sibiu is known as a city of festivals. While most festivals have a cultural or commercial purpose, the Gender Equality Festival is the only educational festival, promoting social change. The main goal is to encourage new attitudes and behaviours, especially among young people; the activities are based on non-formal education methods and entrance to the events is free.

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Abrudean AlexandraGender Equality Festival 2014

Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence

on 24 August 2014

Why this project: The project “Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence” emerged from the need to have a more structured space to discuss sexual violence and ways to combat it among 9 NGOs promoting gender equality and advocating for ending violence against women. The idea behind of the project is to break through the taboos surrounding sexual violence in order to encourage victims to seek adequate help and report the crimes.

 A recent study of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU “ Violence against women: every day and in every place” shows that 6% of Romanian women have been at some point in their lives victims of sexual aggression.  Unfortunately only a small number of victims receive specialized assistance or report the crime. The difference between what authorities record and what the everyday experience of women when aggression and harassment is a routine event remains covered in silences, prejudice, shame and fear.  It is out of this need that this project steams from and which it aims to address.

Local Partners: Asociația Transcena, Institutul Est European pentru Sănătatea Reproducerii, Asociația Front, Centrul Parteneriat pentru Egalitate, Asociația E-Romnja, Societatea de Analize Feministe AnA, Centrul Filia, Asociația Artemis, Asociația A.L.E.G; collaborator: Sensiblu Foundation

International Partner: Stigamot Iceland

Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence benefits from the experience of a foreign partner whose collaboration we deem key for the development of the project. The Iceland partner organization Stigamot has been offering specialized counseling for victims of sexual violence and it has been representing victim’s interests for the past 23 years in Reykjavik. Stigamot will take part in two thematic meetings to share its experience concerning services for victims and advocacy campaigns.

 Funding SEE 2009-2014 grants, in the NGO Fund Romania. The total value of the project is 43,409 Euros

Duration: 15th of May 2014 – 15th of May 2015.

 Main objectives:

  • Strenghtening the capacities of the NGO network to integrate a gender perspective on sexual violance in the public agenda
  • Enhancing dialogue with other partners and agreeing common priorities during 7 thematic meetings; the agreeded priorities will be translated in 10 advocacy instruments ( 5 position papers and 5 factsheets); enhancing knowledge of sexual violence through the development of an online resource center.
  • Consolidating advocacy capacities of the network by promoting a common message through 5 local events and a public seminar at national level on sexual violence and priorities.
  • Extending the network with 5 additional organizations which work with beneficieries at risk of sexual victimization.

Activitities:

  • A series of 7 thematic meetings with network members ( July 2014 – April 2015); the last meeting to be followed by a public seminar.
  • An online resource center – to include information on services, examples of good practice, current studies and research as well as the network’s own advocacy documents. The target audience of the online resource center are professionals working with victims or with persons at risk of sexual victimization, decision-makers, mass-media, relevant universities.
  • A series of 5 public local events in Iasi, Târgu-Mureș, Sibiu, Cluj and Bucharest  promoting a common message and a call to action developed by the network.

 Calendar for thematic meetings:

 Meeting 1.   Sexual Violence from a gender perspective: approaches and risk groups- Date:  24 July 2014, Bucharest

 Meeting 2. Media Representations of Sexual Violence: issues and good practices- Date: 22nd August,  Bucharest

 Meeting 3. Good Practices in Providing Services for Victims-  Date: 17-18 September, Sibiu

 Meeting 4. Sexual Violence Against Adults, Sexual Violence Against Minors- Date: 17th of October, Bucharest

Meeting 5.  Agreeing Priorities and a Common Actions, Date: 10th of November, Bucharest

Meeting 6. Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence within Intimate Relationships,  Date:  15th of December, Bucharest

Meeting  7. Drafting a Call to Action on Sexual Violence

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.

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Abrudean AlexandraBreaking the Silence on Sexual Violence

Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence

on 7 August 2014

Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence: strengthening NGO capacity to integrate sexual violence on the public agenda

Why this project:

Imagini pentru Breaking the sexual violence ACTEDOThe project “Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence” emerged from the need to have a more structured space to discuss sexual violence and ways to combat it among 9 NGOs promoting gender equality and advocating for ending violence against women. The idea behind of the project is to break through the taboos surrounding sexual violence in order to encourage victims to seek adequate help and report the crimes.

A recent study of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU “ Violence against women: every day and in every place” shows that 6% of Romanian women have been at some point in their lives victims of sexual aggression.  Unfortunately only a small number of victims receive specialized assistance or report the crime. The difference between what authorities record and what the everyday experience of women when aggression and harassment is a routine event remains covered in silences, prejudice, shame and fear.  It is out of this need that this project steams from and which it aims to address.

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Abrudean AlexandraBreaking the Silence on Sexual Violence

Breaking the Silence about Sexual Violence, 6% of Romanian women have been sexually aggressed at some point in their life

on 28 July 2014

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) study, “Violence against Women: every day and everywhere” shows that 6% of Romanian women have been sexually aggressed at some point in their life. The FRA survey’s results are more worrying as the number of cases of sexual aggressions and rapes reported to the authorities is under 1500 cases per year. The difference between what gets into the police statistics and women’s daily life, where harassing and sexual aggression are almost daily occurrences, is surrounded by silence and covered by taboos, prejudices and fear.

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Abrudean AlexandraBreaking the Silence about Sexual Violence, 6% of Romanian women have been sexually aggressed at some point in their life

Sustainable development and Gender Equality

on 4 July 2014

Between 30th and 9th of July, A.L.E.G. through Irina Costache participates at the working meetings of High Level Political Forum on imagine HLPFSustainable Development, an inter-governmental mechanism that will insure the monitoring and reporting on the implementation of development objectives for 2015-2030. The main priority for these discussions will be to ensure the meaningful participation of women and women’s rights organizations in the aftermath of 2015. At the end of the forum we hope to have had established a mechanism by which women’s rights organizations will be able to participate in program and policy evaluation regarding sustainable development.

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Abrudean AlexandraSustainable development and Gender Equality