“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.
In many countries in Europe and Central Asia, gender equality policies are hindered by initiatives that mislead people into blaming equal rights activism for the destruction of the family. For instance in Romania, a recent petition signed by parents and religious organizations asked Ministry of Education to ban all educational material on gender equality. In many countries like Bulgaria, the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, one of the strongest existing tools in fighting violence against women, is blocked because it refers to gender inequality as the root cause of violence. Measures for protecting women from violence are not improving undef the excuse of resisting “gender propaganda”.
Women’s rights are a recent achievement, not yet fully completed in many societies, and misleading messages emphasizing irrational fears can reinforce obstacles in women and girls’ rights, especially in communities where male-domination is still regarded as the norm. ‘In school, we learn very little about women’s accomplishments in any field – history, literature, science- as if they’ve been erased. We miss female role models and we miss information. For example, we didn’t know that Romanian women got the right to vote less than 100 years ago. We’ve learnt about this at a gender equality workshop organized by A.L.E.G.’, says Denisa, one of the girls on the project team at A.L.E.G.
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📱 IoS or Android? Download for free from Apple Store/Google play the new game Dream Fighters and let the fun begin!
For many Romanian women, domestic violence is more than a breaking news title, it’s the reality awaiting at home. The silence tied to this type of abuse often turns women into sad numbers of abuse victims that lose their lives or suffer without anybody knowing of it.
For the past 14 years, this harsh reality is the main driver for the Association for Gender Liberty and Equality – A.L.E.G – that is organizing a street event on 26 November called “The silent Witnesses’ Watch”.
From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, there are 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. A.L.E.G. sends an open invitation to journalists, public institutions’ representatives and the large public to take part in a silent watch with a powerful sounding message that supports women’s right to a abuse-free life.
After a month from the final activities of the 13th Edition of the Gender Equality Festival, we’re still getting praises and positive feedback from the people that attended the festival, as guests, volunteers or participants.
We’re glad our message reached so many people and that each age category we addressed – kids, teens, parents – had a different perspective on our activities. Moreover, they kept the principles close at heart and started to apply the lessons on gender equality in their daily interactions (with their friends, in their relationships, within their family or school).
We’re currently collecting moments, evaluating & learning our lessons so that next year we can prepare even more surprises for you and continue the education disguised as fun, by means of the informal activities that have become all time favorites among our volunteers.
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 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!
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.