Helping address violence, abuse and power
We are working with three Nairobi informal settlement communities to mobilize around issues of sexual and gender based violence, forming Community Action Groups that address issues of violence, abuse and power imbalance. Working with the duty bearers in the community including the police, chiefs, teachers, child protection teams and religious leaders.
TICAH with partners are implementing SASA (Kiswahili word for NOW), a toolkit developed by Raising Voices in Uganda. In our work we realise the role that power plays in promoting violence. We interrogate this and work with men and women to question power, who has it and how they use it.
We explore discussion on gender roles and stereotypes, perceptions of masculinities and femininity and how the power associated with constructs of masculinity affects relationships between men and women as well as men and men both individually and socially.
In late 2013, TICAH held a body mapping workshop with 12 rape survivors from three communities in Nairobi (Korogocho, Viwandani and Majengo). We came to share, to heal, to reflect on our lives, and to find our strength together. During the workshop, we built an altar, starting each day with meditation. We described our strengths and our hopes. We told our rape stories once we had created a safe place for sharing. Then we drew symbols or sketches of our rapes, placed them on the table, and walked away from them, step by step, answering a series of questions that helped us gauge our own healing. We traced our bodies on our maps, painted our pasts, our talents, our dreams. We burned the sketches of our rape in a fire. We claimed our safe spaces inside. We talked about ourselves and then we talked about how we could use our experiences to help others, too. We made plans for action in our communities.
The body map artists named themselves the “TICAH Angels.” Since this workshop, the Angels have become a force for change in their communities. They started by sharing their body maps and stories with community members, helping other rape victims to open up and know they are not alone. The TICAH Angels are now activist champions for the rights of other sexual violence survivors, creating support groups and referral networks for accessing justice when violence does occur. They have changed their worlds.