Meet Saida from Morocco.
After 10 years of marriage Saida* was left homeless when her husband imposed a second wife in the house. She now works to fight all forms of discrimination and violence against women in Morocco, supporting survivors to claim for their rights and to challenge what’s accepted as normal in their society.
“One day I woke up to find myself divorced, with no home, no work – nothing.
In Morocco, violence against women and girls exists in many different forms: physical, psychological, economic and legal – especially in the context of divorce. My husband made me get divorced because I did not accept that he was taking a second wife, and I was forced to leave my home. Neither the lawyer nor the judge helped me – they thought this was acceptable because in my country, despite the laws, mentalities change very slowly. Even those who should enforce laws don’t protect women and girls against the different types of violence.
But I realised that I have my own strength, and could help other women see life differently. Together we can raise awareness and challenge what’s accepted in our society, and inform other women about their rights.
Despite all the difficulties, looking to the future is what counts most. That is the message that I share to women survivors of violence – and I also pass it on to my daughter. I teach her to be strong and proud of herself.
I want women and girls in my country to speak out against violence and claim for their rights. I want them to realize things are not always the way we are taught they are.
Across the world, women’s voices have to be heard. Men are not more than women; we all have the same abilities and the same rights.”