All of us who work at Kvinnojouren Kiruna are volunteers and have given a promise of silence.
Kvinnojouren Kiruna are a non-political and non-religious organization. We stand for a feminist basis, which means that Kvinnojouren Kiruna:
•acts against violence and oppression by women as well as for women’s liberation and gender equality at every level of society
•conducts opinion-forming activities to create debate on women’s issues in society
•believes that women’s trafficking, rape, incest and other sexual assaults along with pornography are the ultimate consequences of the visible women’s pressure in society
Kvinnojouren Kiruna is a part of Riksorganisationen för Kvinnojourer och Tjejjourer i Sverige (ROKS).
What is a Women’s shelter/Kvinnojour?
It is illegal and against Swedish law to hit and scare a woman to force her to do things she does not want to do. Still, it all happens.
In a Women’s Shelter you can talk about things that no-one else gets to hear about. You can get help filling in important papers. You can get help if you want to speak with an authority. And you can stay in a secret place if you do not dare go back home, and if you have children, they will come with you.
Women’s Shelters are based on your needs and wishes. Perhaps you need to talk about your life situation and your current relationship. Perhaps you need advice about a police report or a custody complaint. Or have you been exposed to sexual abuse, either recently or several years ago. You may also worry about a friend or relative who you suspect is being subjected to violence by her partner.
On the Women’s Shelter, only women work. No men! Neither do we help men. It’s not because we believe that all men are violent nor because we hate men. On the contrary, the volunteers in the Women’s Shelter have good relationships with men in private, social and professional contexts. But from experience we know that it is impossible to speak openly about painful experiences of men’s violence and sexual abuse when men are present. It feels safer to be in an environment where there are only women.
Some of the volunteers have their own experiences of being exposed to men’s violence, others do not. Having a female identity can, however, make it easier to live into the reality of violence because women have learned that men usually have the power in our society.