Feminist volunteer and mutual support network
We promote a feminist volunteer network called Veïnes per Veïnes (“Women Neighbours for Women Neighbours”) based on promoting mutual support networks to deal with all forms of expression of the patriarchal system. We understand sexist violence against women from a feminist standpoint, where women and dissident identities are subject to all forms of discrimination and violence. We seek to combat them through resistance in neighbourhood and community networks.
Veïnes per Veïnes
The organisation’s volunteers provide emotional and face-to-face support for women survivors of sexist violence who seek support in their process of recovering from the violence they have suffered. This support is carried out by promoting egalitarian relations based on respect for diversity and with an intersectional perspective.
Based on appropriate training and follow-up by professionals, volunteers provide support during the processes that women survivors of sexist violence go through to promote their empowerment: accompanying them to court, to visits with lawyers, on medical visits, during administrative procedures, to social services and all along the often difficult path that must be followed to repair the harm received.
“I would repeat the experience a thousand times, no doubt. Being able to offer women this emotional and intimate support considering that they are in a state of intense and constant pain and great loneliness, going through different (often aggressive) institutions even without understanding the language or the procedures that must be followed… It reminds you of the importance of creating community networks and going beyond formalities. We must be close to the reality of women who suffer violence to understand their suffering and to be able to support them from “you to you”, without the paternalism, indifference and even revictimisation that they may experience in the different institutions they go through. I think this volunteering is an amazing opportunity to remind women that they have their own identity and that they are not alone”.
Weaving feminist networks throughout the region
At the Associació Hèlia, we are deploying and consolidating a support network between women made up of volunteer neighbours from all over Catalonia who are trained in the fight against sexist violence against women who offer social and community support by networking with bodies, organisations and institutions in the recovery process for women survivors of sexist violence.
We develop this initiative to support organisations and groups from other neighbourhoods, towns and cities that want to replicate this experience in their local area, advising and sharing our work methodology to use their support network between women neighbours from their social bases and their specific reality.
Therefore, we promote this model of feminist support so that it extends, adapts and self-manages to each context with the aim of raising awareness, while also supporting neighbours in situations of sexist violence in their recovery process from an aspect of community empowerment.