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WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL: Zainab: Taking Back Her Rights and Her Life

Women for Women International

For years, Zainab suffered her husband’s beatings and abuse. Growing up in Nigeria, she was taught a woman’s rights came from her husband. When Zainab’s husband took a second wife, he often refused to give her money to feed their children. He became more violent towards her, and Zainab felt powerless. One in three women globally experience violence like Zainab, and in the countries where we work, this rate is often much higher.

We know it takes courage and the support of others for a woman to stand up for her rights and challenge those who have tried to keep her powerless, be it a family member or an entire community. Through our program, women come together and learn about their fundamental human rights, often for the first time. With the power of this knowledge, we help them identify how to protect their rights and create more equal homes and communities. We connect them with local legal resources, which give them the opportunity to challenge crimes against them in court. To strengthen community support for women’s equality, we have reached out to thousands of local male leaders, recognizing their role in promoting and protecting the rights of all community members.

Through our program, Zainab learned that her rights did not belong to her husband and was inspired by the support of other women in her class. She decided she would not tolerate his abuse any longer. The next time he tried to hit her, she refused to apologize, and stood up for her rights. Neighbors who overheard what was happening joined her side. Since that day, Zainab says her husband has never disrespected or raised his hand against her.

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Women for Women International

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