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Spirit of Manchester Story : The courage and bravery is amazing

26 Sep 2018 - 10:09 by helen.walker

We spoke to Sandhya, the Safety4Sisters North West facilitator, about the weekly migrant women’s group that was held on Tuesday.

The group, for women who face issues both with immigration and with gender-based crimes, gets a regular attendance of 15 to 20 women each week. The importance of the group is to create a safe, confidential and empowering environment for highly isolated and marginalised women to share their experiences and support each other. This allows women to share similar experiences, be believed and to support one another, which is a rare opportunity in their circumstances.

Many of the same women attend the group each week and today the group explored the #WhyIDidntReport campaign on Twitter and discussed the reasons why women in their group hadn’t. For some it was because when they had tried to report it, they had a negative response due to their immigration status. For others they hadn’t been believed, had been prevented from reporting or feared deportation if they did.

The group had a new attendee today; she had moved from a different area and didn’t know anyone locally. She explained that she felt let down, scared all of the time - even though she was in a different area to her husband and his family. She was also dealing with the pain of miscarriage due to violence. She explained that when you are in her position, it’s the loneliness that hurts the most as you haven’t done anything wrong. Knowing that this group exists doesn’t take the pain away but makes her feel less lonely.

Sandhya added: “The courage and bravery of the women who attend the group is amazing.”

Safety4Sisters North West is an anti-racist, feminist organisation fighting for the rights to safety for migrant women experiencing gender based violence and who are subject to immigration control. 

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