Who: Adolfina Prieto
What: Heads LIBRA, the special police unit which combats violence against women and also offers survival courses to women who have lived with a dangerous man.
Who: Dastak shelter
What: Offer protection to women who have been subjected to violence or threats of violence. Lahore’s only private women’s shelter.
Who: Paulina Bengtson
What: Runs Novahuset, a voluntary association which supports victims of sexual assault.
“Actually, I had a feeling straight away that something was wrong. He looked like someone from the Mafia, not at all as gentle as he’d seemed. But I was gullible and ignored my own warning signals. I was used to trusting people.”
Who: Maria Cristina D’Almeida Marques
What: Runs group therapy sessions and offers counselling to abused women.
“Someone who lives in a violent relationship loses track of time and appointments – in fact, of everything that’s going on around her,” says therapist Maria Cristina D’Almeida Marques. “A woman who is the victim of violence focuses on the man and his demands.”
Who: LAV (Laissez l’ Afrique Vivre)
What: Offers support and vocational training to young people - rape victims, child soldiers and street children.
Eight young women sit bent over their treadle sewing machines. They have learned how to thread the machine and pump the treadle at the right speed to sew evenly and safely. Their first task is to sew a straight seam on a piece of paper.
Who: Enayat Abdelhanid
What: Midwife who has changed her opinion and is now opposed to genital mutilation.
“I used to circumcise up to twenty girls a day, and I was paid in money, tea and sugar. We used to cut out three parts. We held the girl down and she usually screamed. When I look back on it, I feel genuine regret and compassion.”