Charity takes action to end violence against women

“I could quite happily live my life and not think about those women in the developing world and how they’re affected, but that’s not in the greater common good.”

Stephanie Mooney has travelled around the world in the past year, hearing stories from women who struggle every day for their rights.

Stephanie Mooney, far right, talking to street-living children in Kinshasa, DR Congo

Stephanie Mooney, far right, talking to street-living children in Kinshasa, DR Congo

She is now writing a 16-day blog about her experiences, which started yesterday, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

As part of Health Communication Resources, a charity that sets up radio stations in developing countries, Ms Mooney has visited Sierra Leone, Uganda, and many other developing countries.

She said: “Recently I went to a massive conference in Kenya that brought 2,000 women together to discuss things that were important to them.

“There were some women from a rural part of Kenya who had never left their homes before. The majority of them were married as child brides and and subjected to female genital mutilation.

“I also met a quite remarkable woman who fought against all odds. When she was married she was told that she didn’t need education anymore, but she wanted to continue.

“She took beatings from her community and her husband but she still completed her education. She’s the first one from her community to do it.”

But not every story Ms Mooney has heard has been positive.

She said: “In Uganda, I had heard the closure of a pregnancy centre for women - there are only four in the country.

“Eighty per cent of the girls that use that centre are under 18 and 80 per cent are there because they’ve been raped.

“The closure of that centre is really a story we’re trying to tell.”

HCR’s radio stations have allowed these women to have a voice, for example, one group created a radio drama about their experiences.

But how can someone from Worthing do more to fight for women’s rights?

Ms Mooney said: “I think people can get informed. The UN has some information or can follow our blog on the HCR website.

“We just need to encourage more to be done in tackling violence against women.

“I want people to be aware that every woman has a story to tell and it’s important we raise their voice to change their circumstances.

“For somebody who’s felt rejected or ashamed of themselves, the power for them to tell their story is a really healing experience.

“If my blog does nothing else than that, I’ll be happy.”

Stephanie Mooney’s daily blog will be appearing on the Health Communication Resources website until December 10.

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