The second event Smash the Stigma extended the idea behind The New Narrative series and was focused around the greatest of all taboos – Abortions among unmarried women. The event took place on Saturday the 14th of May continuing our partnership with Tabula Beach Cafe. A group of young women and legal experts came together to share their personal experiences around the barriers to access abortion and other sexual health services due to stigma related to premarital sex. This event was unique because it didn’t just bring the issue to the center but moved into giving people the chance to lead the change on an issue that is urgent and directly affects them; in fact the women who attended the event have committed to meet again and become a part of our larger campaign.
Why Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights?
Haiyya has recently launched a campaign on Young Women’s Access to Sexual Health Services. We came to a realization that young women’s sexual health is always a subject of taboo and issues related to this if ever discussed are kept inside a circle of close friends. If tomorrow a young woman suspected she had an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) she probably would not have the support systems, safe spaces and information to access the services required. The most important thing that young women lack is non-judgmental spaces to just talk about sex and other components of female sexuality. Everyone has a story to share but they need to be encouraged to think about all the different ways in which their access has been denied or they have faced discrimination whether directly or indirectly. A pivotal facet of Haiyya is that the community should be at the forefront leading change and in order to do so we as young women need to recognize and internalize the fact that this is a systemic challenge we all face. Smash The Stigma worked at addressing exactly this – by coming together and sharing our personal narratives young women formed a collective voice. The change or in this case the event was itself run by a volunteer team of young women who are actively involved in our campaign. They attended strategy meetings and are shaping the course of the campaign and in that light this event falls under the campaign and the change we are trying to create.
Check out pictures from our event below!