“I can express all the things inside my heart that were so hard to express before. And the trainers let us feel very free to talk about our problems, without rules or judgement” — Unnamed Woman, Women’s Empowerment Program at CRP
Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is an umbrella term for any non-consensual action done to a person based on power imbalances between men and women, men and men, or women and women. Times of conflict see increases in GBV and women often get the brunt of it, through sexual violence and exploitation. Collateral Repair Project began the Women’s Empowerment and Gender-Based-Violence programs hoping to increase understanding of gender-based violence at community, family, and personal levels. FAWCO partners with CRP to try to raise awareness and understanding among participants, as well as provide a place to discuss experiences that may be difficult to express.
The GBV and Women’s Empowerment Programs are fundamentally similar, but with GBV being men-only and Women’s Empowerment for women. No topic is off limits in these classes and include sex; emotional maturity and expression; human trafficking; violence against women, children, and families; stereotypes; human rights; shock; and self-care. CRP takes both response and preventative approaches; realizing that survivors need support while simultaneously working to prevent the same things from happening to others. The two groups discuss GBV issues; identifying them, discussing ways to improve the situation, and sharing their experiences.
Many of these topics have no easy answer. For example they might discuss who you should put in school, your son or daughter, if you can only afford education for one. Some topics might be things that they have never thought about or discussed before, like if men and women’s ideas and emotions are equally important.