Rising: Somalia shares their V-Day events

Published: 15 February 2014

3 regions Lower Shabelle, Benadir and Galgaduud participated in Somalia’s Vday activities yesterday with success!  We had a morning of celebration for the Somali women’s strength, endurance and their bravery. We danced, sang and spoke out against the injustice women face in our country every day. The stories we shared and the tears that were shed that day justified the need to rise for justice.

I had initially planned on doing the events on Thursday; however, in light of security concerns we ended up doing it on Friday. One day before our event there was a suicide vehicle explosion near the Mogadishu airport entrance resulting in a number of deaths and casualties.  As a result we had to up our security and modify the hours of the event. A worrying concern for me throughout this month was the fear that we might be targeted, as a result I decided to keep the event quiet until 1 day before VDay. Nevertheless it was a great success coordinated between 3 centers and the support we have seen on our twitter page and facebook was amazing.

All 3 regions had a morning of celebration with only women in attendance, so that we could wear colorful dresses, show off our dance moves and ultimately express ourselves without worry.  We sent photos of our VDay posters to local media and gave interviews explaining the significance of the day.  We also plastered posters on 100 minibuses used for public transportation that said in Somali ‘ you cant ignore injustice’ . For evening prayers we consulted with a number of iman’s in all 3 regions to have a sermon discussing the injustice faced by women and prayer for those women who lost their lives due to SGBV.  This was a great outlet to bring men into the forefront of the discussion and ultimately bring to light an issue most do not want to discuss. Fellow male vday “risers” in attendance told me that the topic was hot, but met with open ears and discussion from the men in the audience.

On Thursday Feb 13 Human Rights Watch released a report titled  ‘Here Rape is Normal’ , which discussed SGBV in Mogadishu.  The report outlines short, medium and long-term recommendations for the federal government, which include a reform in the judiciary system. First hand case narratives are included in the report that detail the horror inflicted on women. I recommend you all to read it.http://www.hrw.org/reports/2014/02/13/here-rape-normal

This report is exactly why we rise for justice in Somalia.

We unfortunately were unable to live stream the event due the inability to access a satellite in Mogadishu.  However we remained active on twitter (@ElmanPeaceCentr) and instagram by posting pictures and tweets of our days events.  Pictures to come soon ! ( slow wifi but I managed to attached 2!)

I am proud that Somalia was able to be part of this global movement and that we could rise with our brothers and sisters around the world!