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Survivor Stories Part 2

Updated: May 5, 2021

We started relaying stories that are collected from victims and survivors of Domestic Abuse from all over the world. Most people who shared their life stories mentioned feeling free, relieved and empowered and wanted to inspire others through their own journey.

We also reached out to advocates, shelter workers, community workers, doctors and health care professionals who serve and support the victims and survivors of abuse. They gave their valuable insights and shared stories about survival breaking free from abuse.

"A voice can heal A voice can uplift A voice can amend"

(trigger warning, images and information may be disturbing to some )

Dr. Akhter's story

Dr. Asma Akhter has a decade-long experience in the healthcare field, performs at a Government-run hospital in Bangladesh, and is the resident volunteer for One Taka Treatment, a healthcare project of বিদ্যানন্দ - Bidyanondo Foundation. She runs health camps for slum dwellings families, providing essential free checkups, food support and medicines to expecting mothers and leads health camps in tribal hill tracts areas and through floating hospitals.

Over her years of working with low-income communities and marginalized people one issue has been predominantly overshadowing any other causes for health hazard among women, and that is domestic violence. Dr. Akhter recently shared her views about domestic violence with Ms. Ahmed of IPS News Agency and CoFounder of The Parasol Cooperative over a phone interview.

"Yesterday a woman came carrying a 3-year-old child in her arms and despite being at a late stage of pregnancy, was battered and bruised. As nurses enquired about her bruises she tried to hide the cause at first. Later she was crying and pleading for help. I have seen such patients over thousands of cases and it is almost the same story ever and ever again.

Girls are married off very early and as soon as they bear a child the man becomes vicious and abusive. No place to turn to, the wives stay in the marriage in hope of things to turn better, but seldom that happens. I work at the grassroots level and these cases are rampant in the low-income neighborhoods.

We would normally think the women stuck at home might be dependant on their spouses for sustenance, but that is not always the case. There is also another segment I treat where the women work as bread earners for the families and are used and abused.

I have seen girls who work for a living at garments getting beaten up in the morning and evening but again going to work because their children and the husbands depend on their earning.

Often the children are threatened and abused if the mother decides to quit the marriage. Threats are also given towards family members and loved ones as a technique for control.

The pandemic made the situation worse as families are cramped in small houses and women and children are becoming victims of frustration and job loss.

Better implementation of laws, support, rehabilitation, awareness building can strengthen the prevention of such violence in the long run." - Dr. Akhter , Dhaka.

DV victim being treated and later rehabilitated in a healthcare camp by Dr. Akhter's team

Image courtesy: Bidyanondo Foundation ( publishing with permission)

Ms. Das's story

Shipra Das is one of the founding members and General Secretary of Bidyanondo Foundation.

Ms. Das and her team predominantly work with women and children issues and is the first woman to volunteer and run a female-led branch. Ms. Das also works at Rohingya Refugee Camps and has successfully launched programs that support rape victims, domestic violence victims and distressed women to rehabilitate, learn essential life skills and become financially independent.

According to MS. Das, the major challenges they faced while working with the Rohingya women in the camps were trust factors, female work seen as a taboo, heightened religious backlash and domestic abuse.

Ms. Das comments, "The Rohingya camp is the biggest refugee camp in the world. Approximately 1.1 million people live here. Among them, there are thousands of women who are pregnant - the majority of them being rape victims. There are also hundreds of families where domestic violence and child abuse is a pressing everyday factor. We are trying to bridge the gap in gender inequality, lessen gender-based violence, and ease the pre-existing mindset.

We started with food distribution and then started providing education support. Then came the economic empowerment projects. In 2018, we established a handicraft center in the Jamtoli Rohingya camp-15. The women in camp-15 are trained in making handicrafts, clothing, PPE, face masks, and more. The training centers are situated in safe zones and women receive 100% of the proceed.

I have seen trainees missing days, some even weeks. Many come and prefer to keep their faces covered at all times. It took us a good amount of time to gain their trust and to learn the reason behind this sort of behavior. Victims of domestic abuse try to hide their bruises, some lie at homes just so that they can come for training and others quietly suffer in fear of retaliation. With patience and a lot of trials, we have become successful to gain the trust of their families. More than a hundred females now have trained under us and are earning a living that sustains their families.

The women in these Rohingya camps face harsh environments and relentless pressure due to families being displaced which has led to restlessness and domestic violence. Despite the challenges, still, the women are working as frontline workers to sustain their families and communities. " - Shipra Das, Chottogram.

Full article link:

Rohingya Refugee Camp educational branch and training centers

Image courtesy: Bidyanondo Foundation ( publishing with permission)

#domesticviolenceawareness #reachout #reachoutwearehere #asia #DV #IPV #UNWomen #UN #womensupportingwomen #truth #helpisthere #rehabilitation #humanrights


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