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Somali WomenHelp Each OtherOvercome Traumafrom ViolenceCare2Saturday, August 17, 2013“I was alone,” remembers14-year-old Hoda*,recalling that evening inJanuary 2013. “My fatheris a police officer, and hewas working that night.”Hoda was in the bathroompreparing for bed, whiletwo armed men quietlybroke into her house. Aman of 75 years and hisson then hid under herbed.When Hoda returned toher room, the menemerged and began to rapeher. Eventually herscreams were heard byneighbours, who came toher aid, detaining the men,who are now in prisonawaiting trial.Such situations arecommon in Somalia. Eversince the outbreak of civilwar in 1991, the countryhas been enveloped bysectarian and clan violenceand foreign militaryintervention. In 2011,African Union forcessupported by the UnitedNations ousted the militantIslamist group Al-Shabaaband have been tasked withmaintaining publicsecurity and stability forthe democratically electedgovernment. While openfighting is no longer thenorm, for the people wholive here, daily life is stilldangerous. For womenand girls, who often bearthe brunt in post-conflictsituations, violenceremains an ever-presentthreat.To help survivorsovercome their trauma,UN Women is supporting acommunity healing projectbeing run by the SomaliaYouth DevelopmentNetwork (SOYDEN). Thedirector of the project,Adan Bare, recalls seeingHoda sitting at the back ofa trauma healing session,ashamed to tell her story.He spotted her and asked afemale staff member tospeak to her privately.“Rape is a serious tabooamong Somalis, but she[Hoda] is a brave one,”says Adan. “She cameforward and she realizedthere where many otherslike her. When you speakout you find that you arenot alone.”SOYDEN has been trainingcommunity leaders tounderstand trauma andfacilitate healing in theBenadir Region, whichincludes Mogadishu and along stretch of Somalia’sIndian Ocean coastline.Eighty people, most ofthem women, were trainedin Benadir to conduct twocommunity healing forumsin each of the region’s 32districts.Hoda says she attended thehealing session becauseshe believes thecommunity must be awareof the crimes taking place.She says that herexperience isn’t unique inMogadishu. “Whilechildren in other parts ofthe world struggle foreducation, we struggle torecover from the shock ofrape and murder.”Adan himself is an ethnicSomali from Wajir, a townin northeastern Kenya,close to the border withSomalia, where clandivisions contributed toarmed conflict in the1990s. He says that thecollective nature of thesessions helps overcomeclan allegiances andencourages women’sinvolvement in decision-making processes: “It givesstrength to women to seethat they can talk abouttheir problems in front ofmen. This is veryimportant. We had thesame problem where Icame from – reconciliationcan’t be successful unlesswomen are engaged andinvolved.”During the trainingsessions, many of thewomen leaders beingtrained themselves feltcompelled to share theirexperiences with trauma,and the sessions becameimpromptu healingsessions. Adan remembersone woman in particular:“For five years she wassilent, a single mother whowas humiliated andabused by the family ofher son-in-law. When shecame to the training, shefinally spoke and we hadthe district peacecommittee intervene toresolve the case bybringing it out into theopen,” he recalls. “Onceone woman told her story,others joined in, and bythe end they all cametogether to give moralsupport, singing, huggingand praying together.”Osman Moallim, SOYDEN’sDirector, says they workwith existing localinstitutions in eachdistrict, such as peacecommittees. “We target thewomen members of thepeace committees. Theyeach have a minimum offour women, as well aselders and religiousleaders.”Osman says working withreligious and clan leadersis important in order toconfront traditionalnotions of guilt and thesocial stigma attached towomen who have beensexually assaulted, whoare often considered unfitfor marriage.“The true Islamic positionis that a raped woman isinnocent. It’s thetraditions that say shecan’t be married,” Osmanexplains. “The religion isstronger though, and afterour training, every Friday,these religious leadersbegin preaching that rapedwomen are innocent.”News about SOYDEN’sapproach is provingsuccessful and they haverecently been asked totrain the country’s newly-elected parliamentariansso that they too can assisttrauma survivors.“In Somalia, traumaticexperiences havehappened to people fromall walks of life, no matterif you are rich or poor,even parliamentariansthemselves have had theseexperiences and canbenefit from the training.It doesn’t only help thosein pain, it facilitates socialreconciliation, one of thesix pillars of the SomaliGovernment,” says Adan

Somali Women
Help Each Other
Overcome Trauma
from Violence
Care2
Saturday, August 17, 2013
“I was alone,” remembers
14-year-old Hoda*,
recalling that evening in
January 2013. “My father
is a police officer, and he
was working that night.”
Hoda was in the bathroom
preparing for bed, while
two armed men quietly
broke into her house. A
man of 75 years and his
son then hid under her
bed.
When Hoda returned to
her room, the men
emerged and began to rape
her. Eventually her
screams were heard by
neighbours, who came to
her aid, detaining the men,
who are now in prison
awaiting trial.
Such situations are
common in Somalia. Ever
since the outbreak of civil
war in 1991, the country
has been enveloped by
sectarian and clan violence
and foreign military
intervention. In 2011,
African Union forces
supported by the United
Nations ousted the militant
Islamist group Al-Shabaab
and have been tasked with
maintaining public
security and stability for
the democratically elected
government. While open
fighting is no longer the
norm, for the people who
live here, daily life is still
dangerous. For women
and girls, who often bear
the brunt in post-conflict
situations, violence
remains an ever-present
threat.
To help survivors
overcome their trauma,
UN Women is supporting a
community healing project
being run by the Somalia
Youth Development
Network (SOYDEN). The
director of the project,
Adan Bare, recalls seeing
Hoda sitting at the back of
a trauma healing session,
ashamed to tell her story.
He spotted her and asked a
female staff member to
speak to her privately.
“Rape is a serious taboo
among Somalis, but she
[Hoda] is a brave one,”
says Adan. “She came
forward and she realized
there where many others
like her. When you speak
out you find that you are
not alone.”
SOYDEN has been training
community leaders to
understand trauma and
facilitate healing in the
Benadir Region, which
includes Mogadishu and a
long stretch of Somalia’s
Indian Ocean coastline.
Eighty people, most of
them women, were trained
in Benadir to conduct two
community healing forums
in each of the region’s 32
districts.
Hoda says she attended the
healing session because
she believes the
community must be aware
of the crimes taking place.
She says that her
experience isn’t unique in
Mogadishu. “While
children in other parts of
the world struggle for
education, we struggle to
recover from the shock of
rape and murder.”
Adan himself is an ethnic
Somali from Wajir, a town
in northeastern Kenya,
close to the border with
Somalia, where clan
divisions contributed to
armed conflict in the
1990s. He says that the
collective nature of the
sessions helps overcome
clan allegiances and
encourages women’s
involvement in decision-
making processes: “It gives
strength to women to see
that they can talk about
their problems in front of
men. This is very
important. We had the
same problem where I
came from – reconciliation
can’t be successful unless
women are engaged and
involved.”
During the training
sessions, many of the
women leaders being
trained themselves felt
compelled to share their
experiences with trauma,
and the sessions became
impromptu healing
sessions. Adan remembers
one woman in particular:
“For five years she was
silent, a single mother who
was humiliated and
abused by the family of
her son-in-law. When she
came to the training, she
finally spoke and we had
the district peace
committee intervene to
resolve the case by
bringing it out into the
open,” he recalls. “Once
one woman told her story,
others joined in, and by
the end they all came
together to give moral
support, singing, hugging
and praying together.”
Osman Moallim, SOYDEN’s
Director, says they work
with existing local
institutions in each
district, such as peace
committees. “We target the
women members of the
peace committees. They
each have a minimum of
four women, as well as
elders and religious
leaders.”
Osman says working with
religious and clan leaders
is important in order to
confront traditional
notions of guilt and the
social stigma attached to
women who have been
sexually assaulted, who
are often considered unfit
for marriage.
“The true Islamic position
is that a raped woman is
innocent. It’s the
traditions that say she
can’t be married,” Osman
explains. “The religion is
stronger though, and after
our training, every Friday,
these religious leaders
begin preaching that raped
women are innocent.”
News about SOYDEN’s
approach is proving
successful and they have
recently been asked to
train the country’s newly-
elected parliamentarians
so that they too can assist
trauma survivors.
“In Somalia, traumatic
experiences have
happened to people from
all walks of life, no matter
if you are rich or poor,
even parliamentarians
themselves have had these
experiences and can
benefit from the training.
It doesn’t only help those
in pain, it facilitates social
reconciliation, one of the
six pillars of the Somali
Government,” says Adan

Standard

One thought on “Somali WomenHelp Each OtherOvercome Traumafrom ViolenceCare2Saturday, August 17, 2013“I was alone,” remembers14-year-old Hoda*,recalling that evening inJanuary 2013. “My fatheris a police officer, and hewas working that night.”Hoda was in the bathroompreparing for bed, whiletwo armed men quietlybroke into her house. Aman of 75 years and hisson then hid under herbed.When Hoda returned toher room, the menemerged and began to rapeher. Eventually herscreams were heard byneighbours, who came toher aid, detaining the men,who are now in prisonawaiting trial.Such situations arecommon in Somalia. Eversince the outbreak of civilwar in 1991, the countryhas been enveloped bysectarian and clan violenceand foreign militaryintervention. In 2011,African Union forcessupported by the UnitedNations ousted the militantIslamist group Al-Shabaaband have been tasked withmaintaining publicsecurity and stability forthe democratically electedgovernment. While openfighting is no longer thenorm, for the people wholive here, daily life is stilldangerous. For womenand girls, who often bearthe brunt in post-conflictsituations, violenceremains an ever-presentthreat.To help survivorsovercome their trauma,UN Women is supporting acommunity healing projectbeing run by the SomaliaYouth DevelopmentNetwork (SOYDEN). Thedirector of the project,Adan Bare, recalls seeingHoda sitting at the back ofa trauma healing session,ashamed to tell her story.He spotted her and asked afemale staff member tospeak to her privately.“Rape is a serious tabooamong Somalis, but she[Hoda] is a brave one,”says Adan. “She cameforward and she realizedthere where many otherslike her. When you speakout you find that you arenot alone.”SOYDEN has been trainingcommunity leaders tounderstand trauma andfacilitate healing in theBenadir Region, whichincludes Mogadishu and along stretch of Somalia’sIndian Ocean coastline.Eighty people, most ofthem women, were trainedin Benadir to conduct twocommunity healing forumsin each of the region’s 32districts.Hoda says she attended thehealing session becauseshe believes thecommunity must be awareof the crimes taking place.She says that herexperience isn’t unique inMogadishu. “Whilechildren in other parts ofthe world struggle foreducation, we struggle torecover from the shock ofrape and murder.”Adan himself is an ethnicSomali from Wajir, a townin northeastern Kenya,close to the border withSomalia, where clandivisions contributed toarmed conflict in the1990s. He says that thecollective nature of thesessions helps overcomeclan allegiances andencourages women’sinvolvement in decision-making processes: “It givesstrength to women to seethat they can talk abouttheir problems in front ofmen. This is veryimportant. We had thesame problem where Icame from – reconciliationcan’t be successful unlesswomen are engaged andinvolved.”During the trainingsessions, many of thewomen leaders beingtrained themselves feltcompelled to share theirexperiences with trauma,and the sessions becameimpromptu healingsessions. Adan remembersone woman in particular:“For five years she wassilent, a single mother whowas humiliated andabused by the family ofher son-in-law. When shecame to the training, shefinally spoke and we hadthe district peacecommittee intervene toresolve the case bybringing it out into theopen,” he recalls. “Onceone woman told her story,others joined in, and bythe end they all cametogether to give moralsupport, singing, huggingand praying together.”Osman Moallim, SOYDEN’sDirector, says they workwith existing localinstitutions in eachdistrict, such as peacecommittees. “We target thewomen members of thepeace committees. Theyeach have a minimum offour women, as well aselders and religiousleaders.”Osman says working withreligious and clan leadersis important in order toconfront traditionalnotions of guilt and thesocial stigma attached towomen who have beensexually assaulted, whoare often considered unfitfor marriage.“The true Islamic positionis that a raped woman isinnocent. It’s thetraditions that say shecan’t be married,” Osmanexplains. “The religion isstronger though, and afterour training, every Friday,these religious leadersbegin preaching that rapedwomen are innocent.”News about SOYDEN’sapproach is provingsuccessful and they haverecently been asked totrain the country’s newly-elected parliamentariansso that they too can assisttrauma survivors.“In Somalia, traumaticexperiences havehappened to people fromall walks of life, no matterif you are rich or poor,even parliamentariansthemselves have had theseexperiences and canbenefit from the training.It doesn’t only help thosein pain, it facilitates socialreconciliation, one of thesix pillars of the SomaliGovernment,” says Adan

  1. Reblogged this on http://farayarenews somafarayarenews somalia @xjournalist i teach and speak english arabic ahmaric kiswahili somali and italiano i am a proff. Af languages journalist peace maker chairman of somali youth @xjournalist i teach and speak english arabic ahmaric kiswahili somali and italiano i am a proff. Af languages journalist peace maker chairman of somali youth path finders.

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