Amal Women’s Associaton

“I joined the Muslim community in Dublin decades ago, when we moved here with my husband. As I got to know the women and their families, I soon realised the very real issue of domestic violence. The more I looked, the more I found. Most of these cases would not be present if they were back in their countries, but men tend to use the wife’s vulnerable situation to their advantage. The culture doesn’t allow these women to reach out to frontline services independently. Most of the cases go uncovered. The common story is that the woman came here with her husband. He has the passports. She never really leaves the house. She doesn’t or barely speaks English. She doesn’t know her rights. She doesn’t know where to go for help. A lot of women face these barriers. My husband left me with my three children and the only thing that saved us was that I was more independent than most women. Despite this, I got to know what is it like to be alone and without help. I had nowhere to go, so I became the place to go to and I set up Amal Women’s Association. I was already busy, but since the first lockdown, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I get texts and calls every day, a lot during the middle of the night. Sometimes it feels overwhelming and endless. I think about switching my phone off, just for a couple of hours, but then I think about the women who have nobody else to turn to. I know what they are going through. I have seen many cases when a controlling and abusive husband keeps blackmailing to take the children with him. These threats are very real, and it’s not uncommon that the husband actually goes down that road. I often receive calls from women who don’t want to get the police involved – she just needs to talk to someone. I am a social worker and I know how to help. The choice is with them. They decide and we support them with whatever they need. We are a non-profit organisation, based solely on donations. I get nothing out of this role. I always say I have seen this movie many times! I know that whatever comes next will not be easy, but you don’t have to do this alone. We are here to help.”