MADRE’s longtime partner, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), provides lifesaving assistance by offering protection to women and girls facing gender-based violence, both short-term with safe house shelters and long-term with tools to rebuild their lives. Thanks to your support of MADRE and OWFI, we are grateful to share the below story about three sisters who found peace again.
OWFI welcomed three sisters aged 12, 18, and 24 into their shelter in Iraq after escaping their father’s beatings and sexual assault. When OWFI heard their story, they immediately provided services for them in their shelter. Soon after, their mother informed their father of the girls’ location, so he filed a report in court claiming OWFI had kidnapped his three daughters. He came to OWFI’s headquarters, demanding to get his daughters back and threatening the staff members. OWFI called the community police and asked for a lawyer to join them in a private session with the father. After a two-hour session, where OWFI spoke with the family about the rights of women and girls, the father agreed and signed a pledge to revoke the court’s kidnapping case, let his daughters stay in OWFI’s shelter, and give the girls their documents so they could move freely, and even return to school.
Since their move to the shelter, the sisters have been taking a recovery journey with the help of OWFI. OWFI provides them with medical, psychological, and legal services. They are engaged in the organization’s activities, including participating in recreational events and taking English language classes. According to OWFI’s staff members, the girls’ mental health is improving, but they still have a long way ahead before they can fully recover from their trauma.
With your generous support, OWFI continues to work with women and girls in Iraq, including these three sisters, to fully heal from their past traumas and build a new life – free of violence. Thank you for helping OWFI continue to support survivors of gender-based crimes and create immediate and long-term healing spaces.
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