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“We … have a host of cultural barriers that prevent women from seeking help. For example, victims of violence are often threatened not to go to court and are subject to extreme physical and psychological abuse. Women also find legal battles as a ‘hassle’ to their daily lives, because they have to juggle multiple responsibilities at home and work.
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Based on international standards, many policies have been put forward to ensure the safety of women and to address inequalities. However, implementation is lacking. If a woman goes to the police station to make a complaint, the system is such that they don’t often feel safe and protected.
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Sittie Janine M. Gamao, 32, is a Peace Programme Officer V, Ministry of Public Order and Safety in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Philippines. Gamao helps to resettle in mainstream society former fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the violent extremist groups Maute/ISIS and Abu Sayyaf. She also helps widows of slain fighters.
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Kert Tandog has been working for two years with the Liyang Network, which raises awareness of front-line environmental activists in Mindanao. One focus is training Indigenous communities on legal literacy and land property laws.
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Kamala Thapa, 39, an indigenous Magar woman, is Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Manager at the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Research and Development, a non-governmental organization in Kathmandu, Nepal.
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Tarikul Islam is a Commanding Officer and Superintendent of Police at Bangladesh Police’s Armed Police Battalion in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Since 2019, UN Women has supported the Bangladesh Police to strengthen gender-responsive policing in Cox’s Bazar and improve the availability, accessibility and quality of services in alignment with the United Nations "essential services package” for women and girls subject to violence.
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Over the years the people of Sulu province in the Philippines have experienced armed conflicts, violent extremism, kidnappings and multiple displacements. The province now is part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Nurrunihar Mohammad is a provincial representative for the Bangsamoro Women Commission and a former-combatant of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
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Police Lieutenant Colonel Melbeth Mondaya is Gender and Development Focal Point of the Philippine National Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. The region has long been affected by private armed groups, violent extremism and violent clan feuding. In November 2021, Mondaya participated in a workshop on women, peace and security organized by UN Women and Bangsamoro Women Commission in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
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Rakhine State, Myanmar – Daw Aye Mu had always wanted to learn how to expand her small business making snacks in western Myanmar. In July 2021, she was selected to attend the UN Women and World Vision Start to Improve Your Business (SIYB) training, along with a cash grant from partner organization Meikswe Myanmar. She explains how the opportunity was a stroke of personal good fortune amid difficult times for her country.
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Sharada Bista is the founder and chair of Disability Rights Promotion Forum in Nepal. She is from Doti District, in the Sudurpaschim Province of Nepal. Her drive to fight for those rights comes from growing up in the far west of the country with a physical disability herself. "My lived experience as a woman with a disability is what drove me to become a disability rights activist. I grew up watching society discriminate, insult, and shut away people with disabilities. Determined to overcome these injustices, I knew that a community was only as strong as its members who are furthest behind,"
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Mursal Samadi* had worked as a prosecutor, independent investigator, and a civil society leader for more than 16 years in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August. She remains in Afghanistan, advocating for the rights of Afghan women and girls.
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Our interviewee is a member of Sarah Carer, social workers trained by House of Sarah to help survivors of violence access information and essential services. She asked to remain anonymous.“For long, domestic violence was a norm in our community. Men would say it's a way of disciplining women. ‘Mind your own business. It's their problem,’ people would say if anyone tried to help. …
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Reverend Jone Tuiwaiwai, 60, is a House of Sarah project officer and a pastor of St. Luke Anglican Church in Suva, Fiji. Since 2018, the faith-based non-governmental organization House of Sarah has been piloting the project, Preventing Violence Against Women in Fiji’s Faith Settings initiative in three Christian communities in Fiji. House of Sarah is co-funded by the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls (Pacific Partnership), which is funded primarily by the European Union, the Governments of Australia and of New Zealand, UN Women, and the Fiji Women’s Fund (also supported by the Australian Government).
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Sani Daoni, 40, a member of Wailoku community in Suva, Fiji, has attended dialogue sessions given by the House of Sarah project. "I’m a man. I loved my power. I wanted things my way. I never shared responsibility with my wife. If things were not followed, I’d beat her up. I was harsh on the kids. I was always shouting at them. That’s how I disciplined my family,""
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Dynamic and award-winning Tongan athlete, ‘Atamaama Tu’utafaiva, believes here is no such thing as “man’s” or “woman’s” sport. Photo: Talitha Project/Alokoulu Ulukivaiola   My name is ‘Atamaama Tu’utafaiva. I am 24 and come from the village of Kolofo’ou in Tonga. I play for the Ha’apai Island national rugby team. The first time I played rugby was in 2016 for the 15s team for the village of...
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Siunipa Pahulu after a rugby training session in Tonga. Photo: Talitha Project/Alokoulu Ulukivaiola   My name is Siunipa Pahulu. I turn 20 in November I come from the small Island of Ha’apai in Tonga, but I reside in Ha’ateiho, Tongatapu. I’m a seamstress and I want to be a fashion designer one day. I undertake rugby training every morning and afternoon, and during the day I sew clothes to support myself and my family. I started playing rugby in February this year...
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Father-daughter duo Kotoni and Vasa ‘I Vao Feleti, have been playing sports together since Vasa was in Class 1, in Tonga. It was very early on that former international rugby player Kotoni, saw “incredible potential” in his young daughter and decided to nurture it. Photo: Talitha Project/Alokoulu Ulukivaiola Vasa ‘I Vao Feleti   My name is Vasa Feleti, and I am 13 years old. I really like playing rugby 7s. The first time I played rugby, I...
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Sophie Teio, 24, a former volunteer with SANAP WANTAIM, a UN Women campaign against violence, runs an organization that encourages youths in Papua New Guinea to make their communities better. "While working under the SANAP WANTAIM campaign … I coordinated several campaign activities, which involved reaching out to communities and schools. We used to showcase short drama skits on ending violence against women..."
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Veronica Tamar Simogun is the founder of the Family for Change Association, which addresses domestic violence in Papua New Guinea. In 2017, Veronica won the US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award for the East Asia Pacific region, in recognition of her advocacy for the rights of women and children who are survivors of violence.
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Together with my siblings we grew up watching our parents arguing most of the time. My mum suffered both financial and verbal abuse. I did not like what was going on, but I did not know how to help. There are so many human rights violations and abuse happening every day in the community.