What’s the main point of your story?
When I came to the workshop, I thought there was not a case or a story about a gender-based violence or violence in my life. But later on, I realized I did experience violence more than once. There were cases when I lived with an apartment mate who was an elder woman and tried to manipulate me, which I consider as violence. I first wanted to share that story, but then I chose this story… I was living in Ukraine, and I still consider the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as part of Ukraine. But unfortunately, even in my own country, I could not stand up for Ukraine. Somebody had decided that those who support Ukraine should leave that territory. I could not carry the Ukrainian flag or bind a Ukrainian ribbon to my bag. One could have been beaten up or taken away for that. Every individual should have the right to express herself. More importantly, we live in a democratic state. But over there, other opinions were not acceptable; they had a change of power and established new republics.
What do you want others to take away?
I’d like to say that a woman should be able to voice her problem. And, if she can’t handle some problem, she should have some support. She shouldn’t be embarrassed to share her problems. She should claim herself and her rights.
Do you think you’ve given something to other women?
It’s 100% that I gained a lot for myself. Thank you very much! I guess, by sharing my story, this experience will help somebody. Maybe, some people will reconsider difficult situations in their lives, will live through them, reconcile, realize that it is in the past… I met wonderful people, I answered many questions for which I could not find answers for a long while. And, I felt an inner growth and maybe, even maturity. But most importantly, I realized I could be heard, that my problems can be understood by others, and I can help other people cope with similar problems. I’m grateful I was heard.