A happy family is central to building a peaceful community. For many people, ‘home’ is identified as a safe and comfortable place. However, in Timor-Leste, home isn’t always a safe place for women. Over half of ever-partnered Timorese women have experienced violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. Domingas is a housewife and a mother of two daughters, from Aileu Municipality. Her husband, Marcelino, never helped with household chores or taking care of their children. He often gambled and sometimes he was violent towards Domingas.
"I punched my wife and children when they tried to ask for money, so they were always afraid to ask for it when they needed to,” said Marcelino.
Building a happy and peaceful family Domingas and her family say they are happier now after participating in World Vision’s Reducing Gender-Based Violence Project. Domingas and Marcelino regularly participated in Channels of Hope training, a faith-based approach which draws on religious teachings that highlight non-violence and equality between women and men. Domingas and Marcelino shared ideas with others about how to build a happy and healthy family. Marcelino underwent a tremendous change in his attitude as a husband and father. Now he tries to make a peaceful family with his wife and children. Domingas has also changed her behaviour towards her daughters. "In the past, when my children played around, I showed anger toward them. However after the training, when they fight each other, I counsel them to stop,” said Domingas. “I am happy with my parents and I love them. I always help my mother when I return from school by cleaning and cooking,” Domingas’ 12-year-old daughter Abrial said.
Domingas (centre) and her daughters, Delia (17, left) and Abrial (12, right) are in front of their house, Photo: Jaime dos Reis / World Vision
Reducing gender-based violence in Timor-Leste According to a 2016 survey published by the Asia Foundation, 59% of ever-partnered women between the ages of 15 and 49 had experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in Timor-Leste. To address this issue, World Vision began implementing the Timor-Leste Reducing Gender-Based Violence Project. The project was designed to: · address the gender norms that give rise to gender-based violence and child abuse;· strengthen community links to services for women and children who experience violence. The project works alongside partners like village and sub-village chiefs, school teachers, service providers, local organisations and churches. The Timor-Leste Reducing Gender-Based Violence project is funded by the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) under the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).