Syrian women at ICMC’s Protection Center show strength and courage in the face of violence

A mother and her child walk towards ICMC's Protection Center in Northern JordanA mother and her child walk towards ICMC's Protection Center in Northern Jordan. Photo: ICMC / Stefano Schirato Amman, 8 March 2017 - On International Women's Day, ICMC celebrates all women who show strength and resilience in the face of hardship, and particularly the many migrant and refugee women who struggle due to their difficult situation.

One of these women is Shima*, a survivor of early marriage and sexual violence. A 30-year-old from Homms, Syria, she left her country for Jordan in 2012, due to the ongoing conflict. Married at the age of 13, Shima had been abused by her older husband; however, she had found the strength and courage to divorce him. While finally living free from violence, she found herself dealing with the effects of psychological trauma and the social stigma that surrounds divorced women: Shima described a difficult time where her injuries affected her ability to fulfill her familial and community roles. "I had lost all hope in life", she explains.

Like many other survivors of gender-based violence, Shima received psychological care at ICMC's Protection Center in Mafraq, in Northern Jordan. She started attending counseling sessions at the Center, finally being able to share her feelings and problems. Shima explains how she is now able to make plans for the future and resume a normal life and the desire to be strong for her children, especially her daughter, Dima*. "My time with ICMC changed my relationship with my family", she says. "For example, now I have more patience with my children. My children are everything to me… They need me." Shima prays little Dima will never know of the trauma that she herself experienced.

Shima hopes more can be done to assist the Syrian women in her community, especially those who have also experienced gender-based abuses. "I hope other Syrian women have access to the care I received. It’s a difficult time for us but ICMC's support has given me a new perspective. I now feel that life is worth living." After years of suffering from social stigmatization, she has a new ‘lease of life’ and finally sees herself as ‘an equal’.

Unfortunately, Shima’s story is all too common. ICMC continues relentlessly to work to empower migrant and refugee women worldwide, helping them gain access to healthcare, protection, and security. 

* All names were changed to protect the identity of the person.


To celebrate International Women's Day on 8 March 2017, ICMC Jordan planned various activities at the Protection Center in Mafraq.

Syrian and Jordanian women were invited to attend a counseling session with ICMC's Legal Adviser, who discussed their human rights and responded to their questions. The staff and beneficiaries were then asked to write on colorful posters about personal successes and challenges faced as women, and how they will stand for their rights in the future. Most of the women shared dreams of returning to Syria one day, continuing their education, or keeping their families safe from violence. The pledges were then displayed around the Protection Center as a reminder of their courage and motivation.