Baraa's* story shines as a beacon of hope for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). As a Syrian refugee who had experienced the unimaginable, her life took a transformative turn when she was approached by the dedicated workers of the Jordanian Women's Union (JWU).
Baraa, a resilient survivor of gender-based violence, recalls the day her life began to change. "One day, I was at home when two women came and knocked on the door and introduced themselves. One of them was a lawyer, and the other was a case worker. Although I did not want to respond to the door as I did not know anyone here yet," Baraa says. But something inside her told her to open that door, and she did. "They told me that they provide legal services and awareness-raising sessions, and then I let them in."
Her decision to let them in marked the beginning of a journey towards healing and empowerment. Baraa soon found herself welcomed into the JWU community.
"I started going to JWU, and they opened space for us as if it were our home. We attended lectures, and I received computer skills and leadership training, health awareness sessions, and awareness-raising sessions on gender-based violence," Baraa recounts. "All of these things made this place feel like my second home. And all these things improved my self-esteem and made me know my rights," she adds with a warm smile.
In her time of need, JWU extended its support further by referring Baraa to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Given the challenging circumstances she faced, IOM enrolled her in a cash assistance program. For eleven months, Baraa received cash assistance to meet her basic needs and address her urgent protection concerns. Thanks to the generous funds from the U.S. State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration, the cash assistance project has become a lifeline for many vulnerable refugees.
Baraa's transformation was not just about survival; it was about turning her pain into power. In a country where 1 out of 5 women experience gender-based violence, Baraa became one of those survivors who advocate for women's rights through her work with JWU.
"Thank you for letting me express myself and share what I was going through. I am just a small boat on the sea of suffering women, and I would love my message to reach all women exposed to different types of violence," Baraa passionately expresses.
Baraa's story serves as a testament to the resilience of survivors of gender-based violence, reminding us all that with the right support and determination, healing is possible, and survivors can become powerful advocates for change. Through organizations like JWU and IOM, women like Baraa are not just surviving; they are thriving and inspiring countless others to do the same.
* The name has been changed to protect the survivor’s identity