In Iraq and Afghanistan, MADRE is providing women threatened by violence with the support necessary to escape to safety and begin rebuilding their lives. With allies and an escape route, survivors of gender-based violence move from seeing themselves as victims of abuse to knowing that they can create positive change. This project strengthens women's capacity to demand their rights to political participation and freedom from all forms of violence.
Through years of war and occupation, women in Iraq and Afghanistan are being attacked and murdered for defying conventions and for demanding their human rights. They are targeted by fundamentalists whose vision depends on controlling women and denying their rights. Most of these women under the threat of violence have no money of their own and are forbidden from leaving home without a male relative. Escaping abuse is very difficult: running away is often a crime punishable by death.
MADRE's work in Iraq and Afghanistan employs a network of women's shelters to provide safe transportation and housing for women fleeing violence. Furthermore, MADRE is able to activate a global network of women's human rights defenders to launch public advocacy campaigns on behalf of women who are being threatened, terrorized and abused.
In addition to covering the costs of immediate needs such as medical care, food and shelter, these projects use human rights training programs to empower women to extend support to other victims and build the skills to be agents of change. Through these programs, women build their capacity to advocate for the full range of women's rights.