Priscilla Bignoux – Mauritius

Priscilla Bignoux – Mauritius

Date: June 30, 2015
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It was during a Gender Links workshop about Gender Based Violence in Souillac that I learned about the kinds of actions women can actually take to stop this practice. It was the first time I realized that each man and woman can contribute to ending this social ill. By seeing the specific actions that could be taken, I realized that we all have a role to play. At another workshop in Rose Belle, a survivor of violence came and talked about her experience. I was shocked that someone would be able to come forward and explain in detail the kind of nightmare she had lived through.

Within the council, we have an active “listening service”, where we lend our ears to anyone who needs to talk. But the day I heard a woman talk about her experiences of domestic violence was life changing for me. By nature, I am an emphatic person. However, Gender Links has helped me see victims of violence differently. I have learned to say “No”, and now firmly believe that it’s possible to emerge from any experience, whether it’s related to violence or addiction.

If you’ve been through the experience of GBV, you can’t help but to change. GL provided us with the tools to make ways out easier, and build community support for this change. Everyone wants to leave a violent relationship, but they need different kinds of support to do so.

I give Gender Links full credit for the change in myself and my work. Had they not provided me with the tools to understand GBV in a different way, I never would have become the person I am now. I have seen the importance of strong listening skills, particularly when learning about the experiences of victims of violence. Most importantly, I’ve learned to listen without judging.

Since becoming a better listener, I have improved my communications skills all around. I’m able to communicate better within my family, and my kids respond better to my consistent behavior.

At work, I am using these newly acquired skills in so many ways. It prompted me to joint he “listening service” at work. However, I can tell we have big challenges on the horizon. Not everyone can speak out. Changing culture is not easy at all. People are scared of their family and relatives, and sometimes they prefer to suffer in silence, rather than speak out in public and draw the attention.

In the future, I would like to develop a fully fledged association, where people can feel more at ease. That way, groups of people could be pulled together in one place. I would like to use this as a way to encourage Gender Links to work everywhere on the island. If its reach would be wider, the world would be a better place to live in.


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