by Barbara Barnard
On Sunday (26 February) we were privileged to attend the book launch of “Only Rape! Human Rights and Gender Equality for Refugee Women” by Eileen Pittaway and Linda Bartolomei from UNSW. In this book Eileen and Linda have described the work they had undertaken at the international and national level for over 30 years to ensure that rape and sexual abuse of women is recognised as a form of torture and trauma in the refugee context. They have made huge gains, including their involvement in the determination of a Refugee Women at Risk visa sub-class in Australia which provides enhanced support to women designated as being in this category.
Joining Eileen and Linda were two women they have worked closely with over the years – Najeeba Wazefadost, one of the founding members for Global Refugee Network, Global Independent Refugee Women Leaders and the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees, and Melika Yasin Sheikh-Eldin, Manager of Settlement Support Services at AMES Victoria. Najeeba and Melika described the experiences of refugee women and the need for continuing advocacy on human rights and gender equality, particularly led by women with lived experience. It was an inspiring and humbling event, raised over $1200 for the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group, but most importantly, gave some amazing refugee women a chance to be heard on this critical issue.
In launching “Only Rape! Human Rights and Gender Equality for Refugee Women” Susan Templeman recommended it as a very readable and inspiring book.
A special thanks to Zac and Catherine from Rosey Ravelston bookshop for organising the event. If you’re interested in a copy of the book, send them a message at email@example.com as they are ordering some in for their bookshop.