“My husband was very abusive towards me and my children.”
There are many facing the same situation as Emilia Chuma. One in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her life.
In Tanzania, where Emilia lives, violence against women is widespread. One study found that over half of women are beaten regularly by their partners. Why? Because there is a long-standing belief among men and women that such behaviour is acceptable. In 2009, a survey of women in Tanzania found that 56% agreed it was important for a man to “show his wife who was the boss” and 61% believed that a “good wife” obeys her husband regardless of the situation.
But these attitudes are changing. The Oxfam-supported We Can! campaign has seen more 350,000 men and women across Tanzania pledge to become change-makers in their communities, promising to recruit at least 10 others who sign the same pledge to stand up to domestic violence.
TOP LEFT: Emiliani Dionis in Mgeta village, Tanzania. He used to beat his wife and five children but is now a change-maker thanks to the Oxfam-supported We Can! campaign. TOP CENTRE: Change-maker Emilia Chuma in Mgeta says the We Can! campaign convinced her husband to end his violence towards her and the children. TOP RIGHT and ABOVE: People in Mgeta watch a dramatic performance that shows the impact of violence against women on the local communities. Events like this one encourage people to change the attitudes that permit domestic violence. All photos by Barry McCall/Oxfam
This unique approach asks people to acknowledge that violence is happening within their midst, to commit to not tolerating violence in their personal lives and to take proactive steps to encourage others in their communities to pledge to follow their examples.
“I became a change-maker because I wanted to change my life,” explains Emilia who spoke to us in her village of Mgeta. “The Morogoro Paralegal Centre [an Oxfam partner] showed me the change-maker form and I signed it.
“I convinced my husband to change. Now we have a great relationship and our children are much happier.”
Emilia was one of the inspirational women met by our ambassador Sharon Corr who travelled to Tanzania earlier this year. See her meeting Emilia and others empowered by the We Can! campaign in our video below.
We are joining with thousands of individuals and organisations worldwide to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (November 25th – December 10th).
The international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign calling for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.
You can show solidarity with the men and women taking action around the world by showcasing our specially designed paper chains which highlight the devastating extent of violence against women and girls. Displayed in villages, towns and cities throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland, join us to demand that the chain of violence is broken once and for all.
Get involved by printing off the one-in-three paper chain and hanging it at home, in work or school, in your car or a prominent place in your community. Email us a picture at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share it with fellow activists in our Facebook group.
One-by-one, we can make change happen. Download our paper chain today.