Dr Georgina Heydon has recently returned from field work in Maputo, Mozambique where she was working with her project collaborator, Dr Eliseu Mabasso of the University Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo.
Together, they conducted a series of in depth interviews with agency staff in NGO and government departments with a focus on the investigation of family violence in the formal and informal justice systems in Mozambique.
Towards the end of the trip, she wrote:
“Some of you would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the interviews we’ve been conducting here with human rights and women’s support agencies.
Often I feel pretty guilty taking up time to interview people whose clients are sitting out in the baking heat waiting for their appointment.
The stories and experiences are in many ways universal: women are frightened to go to the police, ashamed of their husband’s offending, they go back to the perpetrator, feel powerless to leave etc etc. Depressingly familiar.
However, all of the women we have met in justice agencies have been steadfast in their determination to change things here and help the victim-survivors as best they can.
They are real fighters and appropriately after International Women’s Day yesterday, remind me to never take feminism’s gains for granted.
The photo was taken at the Women’s Association for Law and Development (MULEIDE). Dr Mabasso is on the far left, and I am standing with paralegal staff and counsellors from the agency in front of one of their beautiful hand made banners. We are smiling because the power came back on so they could turn on the computers and the air conditioner and get on with their work.”