Violence against women is a global threat to public health and women’s health, especially during conflict and hostilities. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly one in three (33 percent) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.Right now, displaced women and refugees from Ukraine and other war-affected areas are particularly vulnerable.
Feminoteka, an Americares partner in Poland, raises awareness about violence against women, including sexual assault, and provides counseling and resources to survivors. With support from Americares, Feminoteka created a traveling, temporary exhibition titled “888 88 79 88” and brought it to Polish cities where many Ukrainian women are living; cities include Zielona, Góra, Słupsk and Szczecinek. The exhibition premiered in Warsaw in September 2022.
“Reaching places where refugee women stay is crucial for us. The exhibition title referred directly to the hotline number we provide to refugee women from Ukraine. Old-fashioned telephones were set up on a table during the exhibition. When you pick up the phone, you could listen to the true stories of women we helped.” Joanna Piotrowska, CEO of Feminoteka.
“Reaching places where refugee women stay is crucial for us. The exhibition title referred directly to the hotline number we provide to refugee women from Ukraine. Old-fashioned telephones were set up on a table during the exhibition. When you pick up the phone, you could listen to the true stories of women we helped.”
Feminoteka has taken great care to ensure the safety and well-being of its former clients and exhibit attendees. “For safety reasons, these stories have been [narrated] by well-known Polish and Ukrainian authors so that [survivors] cannot be identified,” says Piotrowska. Recognizing that some visitors may be triggered by stories of violence against women, Feminoteka developed the idea of using phones so listeners can control their exposure to the content.
“The financial support of Americares helped us organize a tour of our exhibition promoting our helpline for Ukrainian women. This allowed us to reach many more refugee women who need our help. We hope it has reached over 1,500 women in Poland. We expect at least a 10 percent increase in calls to our helpline,” says Piotrowska.
The exhibition was a part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence an annual international campaign that began on November 25, 2022 the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ran until December 10, 2022 Human Rights Day.
March 23, 2023
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