Helping Provide A Safe Place For Women
“You’re doing what?!” was the response of the well seasoned aid worker, a man who takes orphans of the streets in gang-ridden Honduras. Clearly, he’s neither meek nor sheltered, but our initiative to do sexual assault prevention workshops shocked him. Honduras is a severely violent society, where in Tegucigalpa (its capital) every 74 minutes, a person is killed. In this highly machista society, much of this violence is directed towards women.
You can see, then, why meddling in the realm of sexual assault and domestic abuse, is not a small task to take on. But at Regal Springs, no matter the country or culture, we have zero tolerance for sexual assault and violence within our company.
A few weeks ago, more than 300 of our women employees funneled into the cafeteria at our Honduras plant to attend our domestic violence and sexual assault prevention seminar. After Magdalena, our head of global sales and social investment, warmly invited the women to partake in the safe space, two dynamic women from PAG, an incredible Honduran NGO (check them out: http://www.paghonduras.org/), stepped up. They led a three hour long seminar, filled with compelling statistics, videos, and much needed encouragement. It covered everything from domestic violence to sexual assault to violence in the workplace. “We need to change the culture from within” said one of the facilitators. Women need, not only to demand respect, but also to teach the new generations the value in a society that regards men and women as worthy. There was no chatter, or yawning from the audience: the women sat alert.
After the workshop, several of the employees approached us to express how grateful they were that we provided a safe space to unpack this issues in. Many women responded that they had never been given the opportunity to hear this information and felt extremely empowered to start working on this critical social issue.
Acquiring respect and safety for women in Honduran society is an extremely long and arduous process, but this is absolutely a first step. We are excited to continue to offer support, information and a safe space for conversation in Regal communities.