25th of novembre is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The celebration was established in 1999 by UN in order to give attention to one of the most widespread human rights violations, which is still daily perpetrated against million of women. According to the last report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, 19 per cent of women between 15 and 49 years of age said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the 12 previous months.
Situation in Tajikistan is even worse: one third to half of all women of the country are regularly subjected to physical, psychological or sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), domestic violence and sexual abuse, perpetrated not only by husbands but also by in-laws, especially mothers in law who bear more power in accordance to their older age.
In Sughd and Khatlon regions, Cesvi is implementing the project “Living with dignity” to reduce the prevalence of violence against young women through family awareness sessions against domestic violence and economic empowerment of the young women, who receive the means to start a business so as to contribute to the family’s expenditures. Examples of businesses include honey production, dairy products, tailoring, services for events.
The story of Mavluda
Mavluda is the second wife of Shahobiddin. They got two sons and one daughter.
Unemployed, Shahobiddin took advantage of his wife to squeeze the money she obtained thanks to the chakka (sour milk) she sold in the local market. He also forced Maksuda to drink with him: “When he is drunk, I am afraid. He became so mad, violent and cruel. I don’t like alcohol, but I’m so scared that I join him. He forces me to buy “vodka” every day. If I am busy he sends our son to buy it.” Mavluda said. She was facing physical and psychological abuse all the time. She said: “He beats me hard every time. When I started participating at the workshops anti-violence against women organized by Cesvi, I was ashamed because I always had bruises on my face, but after a while I felt my “hujain” [that means “owner”: it’s a common way to call husbands in Tajikistan] start acting differently. He stops forcing me to buy or accompany him in alcohol drinking and drugs using. I observe he does it less. Last time he told me that he learned how badly it influences to the family budget.”
Shahodiddin found a job as a wage worker. He is doing any job people offer him: “I am glade that I can live in different way, earn money and make my life better.” Thanks to the project, Mavluda bought a second cow and increase the production of “chakka”. Thanks to the workshops and their goodwillingness, life seems to have improved for them.
In photo: a woman who benefit from the project and her family.