Everyone should have equal access to justice. But 570 million women around the world are subject to violence every year. These women and young girls need strong justice systems to defend them and safe communities to heal and thrive.
That’s why this year, for International Women’s Day, we’re taking a moment to spotlight the brave women we know well who fight relentlessly to protect other women every day.
We asked our colleagues around the world: How do you choose to challenge injustice?
Jimena León, Clinical Psychologist, IJM Guatemala:
"I challenge injustice by raising my voice. When I was a little girl, sometimes my grandma would tell me “It is better not to say anything, so things don’t become a problem.” I remember replying with “but why should I remain silent when something is not fair?” As I grew older, I realized how much power our voice has, and with silence you only become an accomplice of injustice.”
Anaelí Rodas M, Sr. Lawyer, IJM Guatemala:
"In my context, injustice is the norm and injustice against women is normalized. Being involved in the day to day of this fight has moved me to choose to [challenge injustice] with both a conscience that is awake to this reality and an extra “shot” of hope that God remains a God of justice and protection. My conscience is awakened by my own reality as a Guatemalan woman who is close to what other women are living every day….
Violence never makes a truce, and it doesn’t wait until we have the solution, but our dependence on the God of justice is the strongest force and the inspiration to keep ensuring this fight continues to bring relief..."
Jimena León, Clinical Psychologist, IJM Guatemala
Fabiola Viraca, Psychologist, IJM Bolivia:
"You face injustice by persistently fighting it. Because you don’t fight for yourself or your ideals. You are there fighting for everything. For a girl, boy, adolescent, a family, a community—an “all”—that you know needs you to find a little bit of justice.
Recognizing myself as an active actor within society, knowing that every action has a reaction, and that little by little I can change my surroundings inspires me to keep going day by day, to not give up, to wake up with more enthusiasm to keep fighting against injustice."
Esther Njuguna, Senior Coordinator Survivor Services, IJM Kenya:
"By ensuring there is equity in dealing with our challenges as women and giving women and girls a voice through my platform. Making sure they know that their voices on issues pertinent to them is important."
Sonia Hernandez, Associate Director, IJM DR (center)
Sonia Hernandez, Associate Director, IJM Dominican Republic:
"In the face of so much injustice that generally is a detriment for women or other vulnerable people or groups, I am inspired to fight for justice to expand its reach and to be correctly applied. I am inspired to leave the message that women have the potential to fight against broken systems that don’t protect the most vulnerable. To strengthen systems so that they will respond with equity for all."
Josephine Aparo, Aftercare Manager, IJM Ghana:
"I have decided to use my voice to create change and to encourage other women to rise and speak against the hidden crime against women and girls too. And not be silent again."
Josephine Aparo, Aftercare Manager, IJM Ghana
Roselyne Ndwiga, Senior Manager, Programs, IJM Kenya:
"Making sure that information is available. Information is power, and people will only make the right choices when fully equipped with the right knowledge. By giving everyone a chance to be heard, remember no voice is too small.
Finally, equity and access to services is key in fighting any form of injustice. My constant guiding question is: how does the work I do ensure access to services for the boy, girl, man, woman who cannot speak for themselves?"
Miriam Chura, Lead, Partnerships Relations, IJM Bolivia:
"You fight injustice by working and demonstrating that from where you are—as a professional, a mom, a friend, and a coworker—you can face injustice with your actions.
From the role I currently am in, I can give and contribute a small grain of sand in the hearings at court, working alongside my team in a common fight, leading other women and recognizing other women’s leaderships on my team, and joining efforts for a joint fight. "
Miriam Chura, Lead, Partnerships Relations, IJM Bolivia
Pamella Masakhwi, Senior Manager Survivor Services, IJM Kenya:
"I choose to challenge injustice by empowering survivors to speak out. The greatest gift to a perpetrator of violence is the silence of the survivor. I encourage the survivor to speak out and allow their voice to be heard.
I also support these women and girls to stand up for themselves by seeking justice on their own behalf. Supporting them to go to court and provide a compelling testimony of their experience of injustice so that the perpetrator can be held accountable."
Ruth Lawino, Senior Manager, Gulu Projects, IJM Uganda:
"I do not stay quiet. I speak out when something does not seem right. I do not have to know the people involved. All I need to know is that there is an injustice being perpetuated. Staying silent or being aloof is an injustice.
Championing change begins with me."
Pamella Masakhwi, Senior Manager Survivor Services, IJM Kenya