For those seeking support and advice
You should feel secure when you contact us. We have a pledge of secrecy and this means that nothing you tell us will be disclosed to anyone. You can be anonymous if you prefer.
The staff at the shelter speak different languages and have different educational backgrounds.
Stay at a safe house
Somaya has safe houses for abused women and their accompanying children. We accept people from across Sweden. Most of the placements take place through the Social Services and sometimes through the Swedish Migration Agency.
When you arrive at our safe house, we will initially focus on terminating contact with the person/persons who has/have exercised violence and threats. You will be offered support and counselling where the aim is to make women realise the consequences of the violence. If women want to file a police report, we help them to come into contact with a competent lawyer for consultation. We also offer support for contact with agencies, medical care and schools. Most housing is of a collective nature. Women have their own room which can be locked. The other areas, such as kitchen, living room and bathroom are shared. You purchase and cook your own food. The women who stay in our housing are offered different activities which strengthen them and equip them with new tools for an independent life. Every woman and child have a contact person who often speaks the same language.
For many years Somaya has paid special attention to children and we are proud to be the first women’s shelter in Sweden with a permit from the education administration for managing pedagogical care activities for children who need protection. The head of Emans hjärta is a qualified preschool teacher who, together with dedicated colleagues, ensures the creation of a safe environment for children. Pedagogues and the environment provide the opportunities and conditions for positive development of the children. The children can feel a sense of belonging with the other children and they develop together through play and creation. The activities are approved and comply with the national curriculum just like a traditional preschool, which prepares the children to start a preschool outside the women’s shelter when this becomes relevant.
Somaya center is a meeting and occupation place for women and children who are living with protected identity. At present the meeting place caters for women and children who live or have previously lived in our safe houses. Somaya Center is a place where women and children can feel safety and a sense of community while they participate in activities aimed at contributing to independence, personal development and good health.
Honour & violence
Violence in close relationships can be psychological, physical, sexual, material or financial.
Psychological violence can include various kinds of verbal abuse, threats, isolation, extortion and control which lead progressively to a mental collapse. Psychological violence can also involve threats directed towards children, domestic animals or others close to the person who is being victimized.
Active physical violence can include everything from pushing, kicking or blows to a stranglehold, physical restraint or an attack with some type of weapon.
Passive physical violence involves subjecting someone to some type of violent action which leads to physical consequences. It can be preventing someone from sleeping or subjecting someone to a long-term mental stress which leads to physical side-effects. The violence can in some cases be specifically linked to a person’s exposed situation, e.g. by witholding medicine or a physical aid from somone who has a functional disability or is ill.
Sexual violence involves forcing someone to take part in, carry out or witness a sexual act against their will. It can involve sexual harrassment, forcing someone to see a pornographic film, subjecting someone to undesirable physical contact or rape. In a close relationship, sexual violence often arises when a person feels that she must be sexually available in order to avoid some other form of violence.
Financial and material violence can involve, for example, witholding financial assets or making a partner financially dependent, destroying their private possessions or threatening to break furniture or fittings.
What is honour-related violence and oppression?
Honour-related violence and oppression are a type of male violence towards women. Honour-related violence and oppression are directed towards an individual – usually a girl or a woman – who, according to their own group opinion, has acted in a manner which may bring shame or has brought shame upon the family, relative or group honour. Its prurpose is to prevent the group’s reputation from being lost or tarnished, and also to restore the group’s reputation and honour.
The control can stretch from everyday limitations regarding, for instance, leisure activities or clothing to marriage and education. The focus is on the women’’s sexuality and behaviour.
Boys can also be targetted, e.g. by being brought up to exercise control over their female family members or by themselves being forced to marry against their will.
If one fails to conform to the standards and rules which the family/relatives/group have or i one is suspected of having broken these, the punishment may be that one is frozen out, isolated, threatened or ill-treated, and in the most extreme cases this violence can lead to death. Sometimes, if the risks are too great, the individual needs to completely sever all contact with relatives and friends.
Heterosexuality as the standard is a central feature of the honour concept, and this means that lgbt-persons risk being subjected to threats and violence if they live openly. They are thus a particularly exposed group with regard to honour-related violence and oppression.
Somaya considers that honour-related violence and oppression always arise in a collective situation. We begin from an inter-sectional perspective where e.g. gender, class, ethnicity and sociofinancial conditions are involved and where individuals in a group constellation can be victims as well as offernders.