Building in Paris becomes help centre for female victims of abuse

Medical and psychological assistance are offered at Maison des Femmes in Saint-Denis, Paris, for female victims of violence.

© CMY Kane at Flickr

Maison des Femmes (House of Women) takes in female immigrants in Saint-Denis, a poor suburb in Paris that is host to more than 100 immigrants, which have been victims of domestic and sexual violence.

At the Delafontaine Hospital in Saint-Denis, 14% of females giving birth have been found to have undergone female genital mutilation. According to the National Observatory of Crimes against Women of Seine-Saint-Denis, other forms of violence such as forced marriages, domestic concerns, and “honour” crimes persist in the area.

In a report by Al Jazeera, Ghada Hatem-Gantzer, founder of the Maison des Femmes centre, said that it was her experiences in the Delafontaine Hospital that urged her to turn the building into a centre that helps FGM victims.

“When a woman asks for an abortion because she already has four children, her problem is easily solved. But when a woman wants an abortion because she is raped by an abusive husband, who has taken her passport so she can’t work and she can’t leave, it takes a lot of time to really help her,” Hatem-Gantzer said.

“When I perform an operation, I earn money. But when I discuss your problems with you for three hours, I don’t earn a cent. And, at one point, my boss will say: ‘Sorry, but this doesn’t amount to anything’.”

Because of this supposed bureaucracy in the medical field, she pursued to establish the centre where various services are offered – from FGM reconstructive surgery to talk therapy after sexual abuse. The centre also assists females who need abortion or contraception.

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