Supporting women facing violence in South Sudan
The Listening centre World Gift focuses on our work in Olame in the DRC. The centre provides a safe space for women affected by sexual violence to seek medical and psycho-social help as well as receiving training so they can start to earn an income. These safe spaces are essential when local communities often shun those affected, something the centre is trying to change.
In South Sudan, Monica is a psycho-social support group leader. The work our local partners have done with Monica and her women’s group is really important. They’re helping to fight stereotypes of a woman’s role in society and allow them a safe space to voice any problems they might be having:
“Women now have a forum where they can discuss things that matter to them.”
Recently, Monica spoke at a court hearing where a young woman was being forced to marry someone against her will. Thanks to her training, Monica felt confident to speak up against the issue and was surprised to find that her points were listened to, and the marriage didn’t go ahead.
Much like in the Listening centre, Monica’s group has received skills training so that the women can start to earn an income. Not only does this bring them each some independence, but Monica has noticed that this has led to less domestic issues as women don’t have to rely on their partners for money.
While the focus differs between different areas, depending on the local community needs, the message is the same. Women deserve an equal place in society where they are treated with respect and have the opportunity for independence. The changes needed to reach this point don’t just include women, whole communities are changing their attitudes to support the women within them and grant their voices.
Monica highlights that there is still a lot of work to be done before women can feel truly safe:
“There is still need for more to be done to awaken communities to break the yolk of these bad cultural practices that compromised the dignity of women and girls.”