Gender-based violence training not only improve skills, but also changes mindset
"The training was very useful. Now I can use my knowledge in the daily practice", says Mariam Mohammadi, a female police officer in Kabul City. She attended a training on gender-based violence (GBV) provided by HEWAD Organization, one of the implementing partners of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)in Afghanistan.
The 30 year old Mariam is dressed in her black uniform. A black scarf covers her hair. With her friendly face and cheerful eyes she recalls the training. "I only have positive experiences regarding the training. It was an eye-opener. Now I'm more capable of recognizing GBV. Although I could do that before, it was based on my own experiences in the field. I completed my education at the Police Academy of Kabul and at that time there was no attention paid to GBV", says Mariam.
According to the police officer the training raised awareness about GBV amongst all of the participants, not only the female ones. "After completing this course my male colleagues were saying that they understood the importance of not using any kind of violence against women. Their mindset was changed as well."
Mariam is stationed at the police headquarters of Kabul City dealing with cases from the provinces, especially the ones concerning violence against women. Once she receives a file, she contacts the local police station to understand how they deal with the case. As Mariam explains, sometimes she talks to the victims to trace the problems, listens to their stories and assures them that the police stands by their side. In special situations she visits GBV-survivors to know how the cases are being managed and when needed assists her colleagues with advice.
Recently Mariam dealt with a case which she recalls very well. "I remember this beautiful woman entering my office. Her husband couldn't live up to her demands and they often end up fighting. Eventually her husband became abusive. That was when that she drew the line and filed a complaint against her partner.
According to Mariam the police took the perpetrator in custody and put him in jail for a month. During that period the victim was in contact with her husband. "He was begging her for forgiveness and he promised never to raise his hand against her again", explains the police officer. "She loved her husband a lot." They married out of love which is not very common in a country like Afghanistan where most of the marriages are arranged. That's why she could forgive him and he was released from custody. "Now they live happily together", concludes Mariam.
UNFPA promotes gender equality in Afghanistan and seeks to eradicate gender- based violence in the face of significant challenges posed by poverty, years of conflict and entrenched traditional practices and beliefs. In close collaboration of Ministry of Interior over 2,500 police recruits have been trained on responding to gender-based violence in ethical and respectful manner, based on the national legislation.