Participating in fundraising and donations is a way in which we can support and empower women who go to ‘safer’ countries to seek refuge from persecution. So why is it that they face more danger? We must help these vulnerable women as many of them come from a place in which they have experiences traumatising and life changing tortures such as rape, sexual violence, or physical and mental torture. These female refugees “face specific risks and are less likely than males to have access to their rights.”
Who can we lean to for help?
A UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, help ease the struggle of these refugee women who travel with children too. They begin to help with ensuring the safety of their shelters that enable privacy for these individuals. Additional things they help with include:
· Assistance with construction or maintenance
· Fair food distribution systems
· Separation of sanitation facilities
· Managing programmes that help women to improve leadership skills
· Support with overcoming barriers to education
· Accessing wider range of opportunities
UNHCR participate in covering gender issues as well as sexual violence- focusing on UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict and Inter- Agency Standing Committee’s Sub- Working Group on Gender. Both organisations emphasise and make alert the abuse of these refugee women as well as enable safety and protection for them.
UNHCR claims that there are 79.5 million individuals in which over half are women and girls are forced in displacement.
Does their trauma follow them around?
Women for Refugee Women (WRW) published an updated report, ‘Will I ever be safe?’ in which a total of 106 refugee women from over England and Wales told their story on their survival through their different point during their asylum journey.
The statistics shown in their report was that approximately 1/3 of these refuge women had faced this traumatic experience of sexual violence and rape in their home country as well as experiencing it in the UK. The participated acts to these women were taken place in unsafe living of shelters. Also, 95% had depressions and 1/3 of these refuge women maintained a history of attempted suicide.
Questioned individual, Vladimir Bislimovski who works for the NGO La Strada, stated that, “There’s always somebody who wants to take advantage of the vulnerable position of these women,” in which he then said ”But the women don’t talk easily about their experiences. Especially when it comes to sexual violence. They are too ashamed to speak.” This enables the question, are refugees truly safe?
Current Issues for Female Refugees:
Through news agencies and radio stations as well as television, majority of the world are aware of the current war between Russia and Ukraine. This is a period is which Ukrainian refugees are fleeing a war by finding themselves shelter. An approximation of 3.6 million Ukrainian female refugees are with child but still that isn’t stopping them from being raped in places they are relying on regarding their safety.
Olena Zaitseva raised a speech for the ‘Global Citizen’ in which she mentioned: “In Europe, and maybe it's not official data, but it's being said that Ukrainian women are being perceived as the easy victims of sex trafficking because traditional values tell us that women should be caring, should cook dinner and clean the home, she should look after children.” She then stated, “Ukraine is a poor country — a lot of poor women, young women [are] living in Ukraine — and many of them have had to move to Europe. Ukraine also has a lot of sexism and objectification of women. If they flee from places with aggressive actions with artillery or airstrikes, they can be psychologically unstable, and this just makes it easier for victims of traffickers.”
The way in which UK are supporting these Ukrainian refugees is by offering homeowners £350 a month to rent out their empty rooms for allow a living for Ukrainians. But the downfall in this idea is that a lot of these owners could take advantage to exploit women. A lot of women are still in dangerous living situations even after fleeing Ukraine especially those who flee with their children.