“Feminism is for me too” is the conclusion we wish participants to reach during year’s edition of the Gender Equality Festival. The fourteenth edition of the Festival will take place during 14-17 October 2019, in Sibiu. The event aims to raise the general public’s awareness about women’s rights. The timing is important, especially since during the last months we have all witnessed a new wave of violence against girls and women, which has been widely reported in the Romanian media. It is crucial to understand that violence is caused by inequality and, at the same time, it deepens inequality by making people feel afraid and intimidated. Through a range of exhibitions, youth courses, and conferences for employers, we seek to ring the alarm and show that in order to solve this issue, both women’s and men’s active participation is needed. A society free of violence is everyone’s business and is in everyone’s benefit.
For the first time, women that deal with domestic violence can get in touch with those who managed to overcome an abusive relationship through an online platform: sieureusesc.ro.
“Women’s duty towards self sacrifice is passed down from generation to generation. That’s what I thought until I talked to one counselor specialized in domestic violence. “ says Simona, who now leads a peaceful life, although she’s in a wheelchair due to the abuse she suffered. “I thought violence meant only broken ribs until someone showed me a list of the different forms of an abuse”, says Loredana Kaschovits. “I’ve been through two abusive relationships, but I got out of them well”, says Ela. All these women managed to transform their life and now are eager to help others that are currently in the same situation as they were before.
Even though Sibiu is known for its many local and international festivals, the Gender Equality Festival is one of a kind. Those who didn’t have the chance to meet us by now should know that it’s more than a festival, it’s an experience that helps you grow.
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.
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.