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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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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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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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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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UN Women is supporting Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner officials, Camp-in-Charges, police and legal aid providers through training on gender-responsive humanitarian action, women's empowerment, and violence against women. UN Women also has six “gender field officers” who cover 13 camps and support the Camp-in-Charges. Many cases of adolescent girl molestation and eve-teasing have come to my attention. These are delicate cases that are difficult to handle, but I do my best to ensure that justice is served. Through the Department of Social Services and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, the Bangladesh Government is also assisting survivors of gender-based violence.
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I knock on people’s doors. If they want me to come in, I go in. We introduce ourselves, and we pray. If they don’t want me to go in, I invite them to meet me in churches or community halls. It can be hard to get men to come. It can be hard to have men and women together because men blame women for causing violence. We community activists, use the [adapted Raising Voices’ SASA! Faith] tool to have discussions.
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One afternoon, my wife sent me a picture from the training. In the picture, men were using all sorts of violence. I saw myself in those men. For the rest of the afternoon, I kept on thinking about the times I used violence on my wife and kids. Weeks later, Reverend Jone [Tuiwaiwai] and a few others came to my house, encouraging me to become a community activist. I went to the training and learned about biblical texts. There were verses about how God created men and women equal, giving them authority to look after each other.
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At the Tarango’s women’s shelter, Nazlee Nipa provides a supportive and safe environment for women and girls subject to violence. Photo: UN Women/Fahad Kaizer One day, a girl knocked on our door. She wanted to leave her husband, who was emotionally abusing her. She had already asked for help from her mother, but her mother told her that emotional violence is not a crime. With no documents, she left her house and came to us. I accompanied her to the police station to lodge a...
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Riko Nagu is a women’s and girls’ rights activist, member of the United Church Women’s Fellowship group. I have been living, working and staying with rural women and girls from my community for my entire life. Only with time, when I became older and started working as a teacher, I began to see injustice and inequality. I’ve started recognizing cultural approaches which are harmful and, at the same time, prevent
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My story begins with my tribe. I was chosen to represent my people on some legal issues with regards to land at the Chiefs hearing at the tribal level in local courts and the High Court. Over time, I realized I want to know more so I could contribute more and represent my tribe and my people everywhere.
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Palwasha Hassan is a mobilizer who fought for the rights of women to be enshrined in Afghanistan’s 2004 Constitution. She is an advisor at the country’s High Peace Council (which is tasked with negotiating with elements of the Taliban), and also the Executive Director of the Afghan Women’s Educational Centre (AWEC). She has been a political and women’s rights activist since her early youth, volunteering with a women’s movement in 1995...
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Deeba Ayubi, 27, is a women’s rights activist and defense lawyer with UN Women’s partner organization, Women for Afghan Women (WAW), which protects and supports survivors of violence. Ayubi is passionate about helping women and girls achieve a life free from all forms of violence, and dreams of becoming a judge. Even as a kid, I wanted to become a judge. My father would call me ‘Judge Deeba’. Before his death...
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Discriminatory stereotypes, cultural norms and attitudes that normalize and trivialize violence against women and girls are prevalent in every part of the world. Nongnee Kondii*, 25, from Yala, a southern border province of Thailand, never felt safe expressing her sexual orientation at home or in her community. When she experienced a traumatic sexual assault, she kept silent at first. In May 2016, after participating in a gender retreat...
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Passionate and fiery Johanna Tantria T. Wardham, is known universally as Jo. A popular figure in the urban slums of Jakarta, she can often be spotted in Prumpung and other neighborhoods, on the outskirts of Indonesia’s bustling capital city. Her mission in life is to build a culture of gender equality, from the ground up. She leads community discussions, trainings on preventing violence against women and girls, and conducts...
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Shamima Ali is a feminist activist from Fiji. She is the chairperson and one of the founding members of the Pacific Women’s Network Against Violence Against Women. She has been a Coordinator at the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre for the past 31 years. Ms. Ali has also served as a Human Rights Commissioner in Fiji from 2004 to 2006. Her work has included developing and conducting training with police and other service-providers in Fiji and in the Pacific region. Over the years, UN Women has worked in partnership with FWCC on advancing national guidelines for gender-based violence response in Fiji, and supported activities to prevent gender-based violence, including during crises. Ms. Ali recently spoke at an event organized by UN Women at its Headquarters in New York where she talked about what’s driving high levels of violence against women in Fiji and how it can be prevented...