Focus „Our Bodies, Our Rights“

Freedom of violence is a human right

One out of three women* experience violence in their lives because of their gender – in all countries of the world. Women* and girls* who face multiple discrimination have a disproportionately higher risk of experiencing violence.
filia supports organizations that advocate for victims of gender-based violence, advise them and help them win their rights back. filia’s partners carry out important educational work, launch awareness campaigns and fight for changes in the law.

Serbia: More protection for Roma women* and girls*

Strategig Funding of the Roma Center for women* and children Daje

Daje was founded in 2001, and one of its first successful demands was the campaign to establish public transport between the city of Belgrade and the Roma settlements outside the centre. Roma women* and girls* travelling by foot, were often subjected to sexual assaults, including rape; the introduced local transport ensured that the routes into the city became much safer for Roma women* and girls*.

A study by Daje shows that 75% of Roma women* and girls* experience violence in the suburbs of Belgrade and beyond. Daje operates an SOS hotline and gives free legal advice. The organization also supports the reestablishment of Romnja* groups in and around Belgrade: each year filia supports, three new groups are to be established. With filia’s multi-year support, the network “United Roma women*” is growing, bringing these groups together making networking possible.

Chechnya: Reaching girls* in the remote regions of the Chechen Republic

Strategic Funding of Vsgeda Vmeste

Vsegda Vmeste is the only youth organization working for the rights of girls* in the villages of the remote mountainous regions of Chechnya. The activists create safe spaces for women* and girls* to experience encouragement to shape their own lives and discover new possibilities for themselves. The community of solidarity they experience at these meetings is designed to let them find relief from the enormous pressures their families and society place on them. filia’s multi-year grant is the only stable funding for the project and allows Vsegda Vmeste to hold her “Women’s and Girls’ Clubs for Change.”

India and Pakistan: Cooperation against gender-based violence in the garment industry

What’s behind this cooperation?

Since 2018, filia has been supporting a BMZ project of Femnet e.V. as a third-party funder, which focuses on reducing gender-based violence against women* in the garment industry in Bangladesh and India. The project supports the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity and the Indian organization SAVE, both of them work at the grassroots level and are close to trading unions. Both NGOs focus on capacity building and training on labour rights and women’s* rights in order to empower workers to stand up for their rights.

Female* workers massively affected by violence

An overwhelming majority of female garment workers in Bangladesh and India are victims of gender-based violence. Incidents of sexual violence are not adequately documented, especially since the issue is largely taboo in these countries. Female workers can hardly defend themselves against male superiors because they are often harassed, threatened or even dismissed if they refuse.

Cooperation goals

Dialogue is established between NGOs, trade unions and the textile companies in the production countries. The taboo subject of “sexual harassment in the workplace” must be given greater attention. In addition, safe contact points are to be set up for female* workers where they can report assaults, are informed about their rights and are supported in implementing their own interests (help for self-help). In the long term, the aim is also to improve the legal basis. In Germany, clothing companies are to pledge in writing concrete measures to reduce gender-based violence in their supplier factories. The cooperation is intended to facilitate a targeted exchange of experience between civil society actors in the three countries. In addition, a baseline study is to be prepared, which will serve as a starting point for lobbying and campaigning work in all three countries.