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Harassment is a special kind of violence

307.03.2022   19:05

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of cases of violence and harassment in society. In this regard, the KyWRAW network, which brought together about 40 non-governmental organizations and 10 crisis centres, initiated the “Ray of Light” initiative, which aims to prevent and prevent harassment in the workplace and in educational institutions.

Women's Public Union Eraiym supported this initiative and an employee of the organization Altynai Sabyrbekova held a series of workshops in the Bazar-Korgon district of Jalal-Abad oblast on the topic of harassment, with a special focus on harassment in the working place.

The first workshop was conducted for Erayim's staff in the Bazar-Korgon office. The participants shared their own experiences and situation they witnessed in their communities and discussed ways to react when facing or witnessing harassment.

The second workshop was given in the Akman rural district in secondary school Toktogul, No. 5. 23 women and 8 girls, all members of the Self-Help Groups from the village participated. The intergenerational group of women raised many challenges and pinpointed problems they face - e.g., lack of awareness on how to react when targeted by harassment.

The third workshop addressed members of the Akman rural administration in the Bazar-Korgon district, deputies, and members of the local Women's Council. It was conducted in the conference room of Akman rural district. A heated discussion developed upon the results of the 2019 survey on harassment conducted by the Kyrgyz Women’s Court Association stating that 80% of harassment cases in the Kyrgyz Republic are taking place in various state institutions. The film clip released by the Police Department of Bishkek drew attention to how dramatic the situation is: there is a well-rooted and broadly represented blaming culture of those targeted with sexual harassment. The participants raised questions on how to document harassment cases and ways to address them in the current situation when there is no legal framework on harassment taking place in the workplace.

The fourth workshop was organized in the village of Seydikum, on the site of the greenhouses. The self-help groups Ak-Tilek and Dostuk consisted of women accompanied by their children of various ages gathered in their community house. The participants shared their experiences with harassment very openly. All together they acknowledged the importance of breaking the societal taboos connected with harassment and violence which is not exclusively but particularly affecting women. A special focus of the exchange between participants of the workshop developed around the urgent need to empower girls and women of all generations to stand up against violence they are facing on multiple levels.

The fifth workshop was conducted in the maternal school Gulnara (an alternative form of a kindergarten) in Bazar-Korgon city for the staff and members of the local self-help groups. Here too, the women shred their own stories, which yet again had the same in common: violence and lack of support when facing it.

The final workshop took place in the main office of Erayim in Bishkek. Besides the reflection on the workshop content, the lessons learned and issues raised during the training courses in the south of Kyrgyz Republic were discussed. The topics addressed and the need expressed clearly showed a great need of addressing the issue of harassment and violence not only in public spaces but also in families.

This series of workshops was conducted in cooperation with the association "Center for Gender Information" in the frame of the project “Capacity building of women's CSOs to monitor and analyze the implementation of national commitments to eliminate violence against women and girls”.












Baktykan Azhymamatova, Osh oblast 


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