Dn their country of origin, they were sociologists, legal assistants, sportswomen, managers, seamstresses, marketing directors, artists, students, surveyors, teachers, hairdressers, orthopedists, journalists, sailors, watchmakers, porters, shopkeepers. They had to go into exile and, all along the way, they suffered violence.
Long a phenomenon whose issues were relegated to the background, female exile has now become as significant as that of men, women represent half of the displaced people in the world. This proportion is not new and has been confirmed for ten years, it is also found in the active file of the Primo Levi Center, which is made up half of women.
The profile of women who go into exile is very diverse, as well as the reasons that lead them to leave their country. Some will flee a repressive regime because of their ideas or are indirectly targeted through the political activities of a relative. Others will flee a forced marriage, a threat of mutilation.
Since the 2000s, their exile is no longer necessarily linked to family issues, it has become more solitary, more autonomous. It is not very different from that of men. The decision is extremely difficult to make, they know like them that violence will be there and will never leave them.
Tortured, imprisoned, raped in their country, they then enter another circuit of violence, this time under the control of smugglers and members of the police or the army of the countries they cross. Once in Europe, the brutality continues. Bosnia, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria or France: cases of police repression or non-assistance to exiles are widely documented.
Arrived in our country, the nightmare diminishes but the non-palpable, social, economic and psychological violence continues. In the active line of the Primo Levi Centre, almost all of the women received have suffered sexual violence, either in their country of origin or on their way to exile.
Political, institutionalized violence
This violence is so systematized and repetitive that it ends up being trivialized or considered as not reprehensible by the patients themselves. This violence is not the result of chance, of bad encounters, it is political, institutionalized, because it is the result of the inaction, complicity or deliberate action of States, from the country of origin to on arrival in Europe.
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