Zatyshno Space is a safe space for women and girls created by Vostok SOS Foundation in Zaporizhzhia. The goal of the initiative is to protect and provide psychological, legal and social assistance to women and girls who have suffered as a result of the war and are in difficult life circumstances. In addition, the activity of the space is aimed at countering gender-based violence.
We talked about the work of Zatyshno Space in Zaporizhzhia with Liudmyla Ostapenko, the manager of the space in Zaporizhia.
The philosophy of the project is a safe space, a safe place for women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence.
Liudmila Ostapenko notes: “This, in principle, is the leading theme of all our events, all our work. However, of course, the topic of gender-based violence is difficult to understand. When, for example, you read the word “violence” in the title, you no longer have the desire to go to the event, to talk about such things. But my team and I “pack” such a complex topic into interesting educational activities that would really at least give a woman the opportunity to think about the fact that personal boundaries are important. They enable women to understand that no one should be allowed to insult them; that a woman is the greatest value in herself; that a woman can really do anything; that there is a place where help can be provided…
When we conduct surveys or focus groups, we find that the level of awareness of gender-based violence concept is very low. This suggests that women cannot even always distinguish what happened to them, that they came across with violence in their life. That is, one of our main tasks is to give a woman the confidence that she will be able to reveal her potential and become economically independent.”
In addition to psychologists, social workers and lawyers, case managers also work in the space team. When specialists understand that there is a case of gender-based violence, the case manager fully accompanies such a girl or woman. Assistance is provided as a package: they meet, discuss the security plan, what they will do.
Liudmyla is sure that thanks to the space, women and girls learn to realize their own value, to be ready to defend personal boundaries and to understand that any violence cannot be justified.