Women and girls have a fundamental right to safety. This safety is a precursor to development and growth, in order for girls and women to be able to build more prosperous lives for themselves, their families, their communities and their country. This week’s Girls’ Leadership Forum post features women from Washington, DC, Kenya, and Haiti sharing what makes them safe or vulnerable at home.
Maria Michelle, Kenya
Maria, a schoolgirl in Kenya, describes where she feels most safe, with her friends and those who love her.
Maureen Kosen, Kenya
Maureen is currently studying family law at university in Kenya. She is 19.
Safety to me is a place where I feel secure and sure that the people around me will be there through both the good and bad times. It doesn’t matter if I mess up, they remain constant. I chose this picture as my safe space because around these ladies, I am able to just be real with life issues and struggles, without the fear of any of them judging me.
Home to me is anywhere with family, of course — My first family, who have been a backbone to my success, but also friends who are so close that I view them as family. I feel safest when I am with family. Safety is very personal, as it affords me the ability to try anything I want to venture. It gives me courage to chase my dreams, and the ones around me are always there to give me that extra push that everyone seeks.
I am most vulnerable when I am around people in society who make me feel as though what I have achieved in life is less. It can make me lose motivation, because if society doesn’t appreciate what I have done, then it is possible to feel truly discouraged. Also, I feel vulnerable when I meet people in the society who still carry the misconception that women should march to men’s wishes.
Reflections on Safety by Women in Southeast Washington, DC
When asked how they could contribute to the safety of others in their community, women in our WomenStrong DC (WSDC) program almost all said by being with and supporting each other. Many of these women grew up in broken homes and witnessed trauma early on, which impacted their relationships with others enormously. In the WSDC program, they’ve learned to trust and love again, and in doing so, they feel safe now, in the company of their WSDC sisters.
Rebecca Odhiambo, Kenya
Rebecca, a mother from Kenya, shares how she feels most safe surrounded by her family.