Any activist will tell you that working on issues pertaining to violence against women and girls (VAWG) means being in a constant state of emotional pain, rage and stress. With 1 in 3 women being subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, VAWG is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
The magnitude of violence against women and girls, the relentless search for justice and the work towards uprooting the patriarchal systems that enable this violence means that activists rarely get a break. With time, the proximity to trauma and immersion in painful, dehumanising experiences takes a toll on the activist mind and body.
Knowing that activists, too, need a space to heal and a break from this important but heavy work, Akina Mama’s offering of love for this year’s #16DaysOfActivism, a global campaign highlighting VAWG, is a healing and restoration space for activists working on Gender-Based Violence.
On 6th December 2022, we convened 100 feminist activists for a healing festival on the lush green lawns of Ndere Cultural Center. We invited psychotherapists and workers of wellness to steer healing circles where we held conversations on healing, trauma and self-care within activism.
It was beautiful to see feminist activists deliberately indulging in joy and being intentional about self-care. The sight of feminists dancing, singing and relaxing brought the words of Audre Lorde to life;
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
In addition to our feminist healing festival, we also created a guide to healing for feminist activists. The guide is a fun, colourful, story-filled document from feminist activists who do healing work. It is filled with resources and tips around self-care and healing.
We hope that this Guide, titled “Healing is our Inheritance”, will continue to be a companion of activists on their journey and a reminder that healing is our ultimate goal and begins with us.
Do check out the guide and gift it to a feminist activist that you know.
Link to: HEALING GUIDE FOR FEMINIST ACTIVISTS