The young women; who were once victims of sexual abuse, who have gone through shelter care for their safety, who have taken the lonely stand within the Courts to fight for justice; and who have endured the stigma and the discrimination from the community upon their reintegration, are laying down a challenge vulnerable young women out there to “Rise up, just as the sun rises up on the dawn of a new day.”
The challenge is issued by the young women, who called themselves Sisters of Hope, as they gathered for a three days retreat over the weekend, to check up on how each other is doing, and to share on the challenges they have faced following life within the safety of the Campus of Hope shelter facility.
We are talking about young women who were sexually abused at the ages as young as 6, young women who were pregnant from abuse and gave birth at the ages 11 – 12, and have attempted suicide at the age of 10 due to the trauma they have gone through.
But seeing the young women formed the feminist movement to fight sexual violence in Samoa is encouraging, especially in light of the dramatical spike in the percentage of gender based violence cases in Samoa since the COVID-19. This is even after years of advocacy work for the safety of children while lobbying for policy and legislation to be in place for the protection of children. Who could be the better fighters in this field than these young women?; and who can better reach other vulnerable young women who slip through the cracks of existing programs than them?
Through the FRIDA young feminist funding support, the Sisters of Hope have made a domino effect in the elevation of survivor centred empowerment to rise above and lead initiatie that are relevant to young women, who have been traumatized and deeply affected by sexual violence.
The participants to the 3-days retreat are locally based young feminists of the Sisters of Hope, who are joined virtually by other Sisters of Hope now residing overseas; some have built families of their own while others are continuing with their studies.
From the Sisters of Hope camp, thank you to the FRIDA feminist fund for believing in the Sisters of Hope’s ability to push throught with the movement in Samoa. Have a safe weekend Samoa, and God bless.