In Iraq, MADRE helps women threatened by violence to escape to safety and begin rebuilding their lives. With allies and an escape route, survivors of violence move from seeing themselves only as victims of abuse. They come to know that they can create positive change. This project strengthens women's capacity to demand their rights to freedom from all forms of violence.
For years, women in Iraq have been attacked and murdered for defying conventions and demanding their rights. They're 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. With escalating violence in Iraq, women are at a greater risk.
MADRE's work in Iraq 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 survivors of violence and build the skills to be agents of change. Through this program, women build their capacity to advocate for the full range of women's rights.
Iraq: An Underground Railroad for Iraqi Women