Why put yourself in such danger to protect human rights? Where others might stand idly by in the face of injustice, human rights defenders possess determination beyond measure. For them, there is no choice.
In addition to the risks that all human rights defenders face, women are also exposed to or targeted with gender-specific violence, which may include the use and threat of sexual violence, harassment and verbal abuse focused on their gender, the delegitimisation of their work, and threats directed towards their children and families. Their participation in public and political life is often seen to challenge traditional gender roles, leading to hostility from authorities and the general population, who often characterise them as “bad mothers” or “family breakers”.
"We as women understand that they are scared just as we are, but we are making the best efforts so that these women know their rights" Lilian Borjas
"They are very clear about the strength women have so they devote special care, attention and resources to counting and checking them" Silvia Villaseñor
Despite all this risk and marginalisation, many women had suffered threats and intimidation in their homes, within their organisations or in their community. But instead of crushing their convictions in a fair society, many women have trust themselves and follows their intuitions. Their resilience, realistic optimism and believe in themselves have motivated them to continue with the struggle. They know that it will require hard work on their part.
"It's us women who face these battles, it is us who are fighting these mining companies. Because it is us who need these natural assets" Lilian Borjas
"It is the women who have to face poverty every day. It is women who have to go to fetch water to bath our children. Now as women we are confronting the mining companies because we need the natural resources. We are fighting for what is ours" Lilian Borjas
Lilian Borjas is the secretary of the regional office of the Agricultural Workers Union, CNTC, Honduras and she also organises and supports women within the community. Lilian has led a land occupation in opposition to landgrabs by wealthy landowners in Progreso, Honduras. She was arrested and faces the possibility of 10 years in prison. The case has been dragging on for six years but she carries on. Lilian will not stop until she gets what is hers.
Resilience means knowing how to cope in spite of setbacks, or barriers, or limited resources. Resilience is a measure of how much you want something and how much you are willing, and able to, overcome obstacles to get it. Nallely Paola, a LGBT+ activist in Honduras, faces the risks she has in her life and believes she will carry this experience with her and use it for good. It all comes from the strength of being happy with yourself and believing in what you fight for.
"I can say, it’s OK, I understand your fear because I was also afraid but I’m here and I’m going to support you and I’m going to help you. Whatever happens we are going to make an impact, it may just be little but we are going to do it. And bit by bit we are going to raise ourselves up" Nallely Paola
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