DAP hosts Humphrey Fellow from Pakistan

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

This week Domestic Abuse Project had the unique privilege of hosting a Humphrey fellow. Neelum Khan Toru is a member of a Humphrey Fellowship pilot program that focuses on executive leadership. This program brought together ten different leaders from all over the world for a week of Seminars at Harvard, and then connected them with institutions all over the country that best matched their professional background. Khan Toru, who specializes in women’s issues in her home country of Pakistan, was connected to DAP.

Khan Toru is the chairperson of the Provincial Commission on the Status of Women, where she focuses  on creating policies centered around the safety of women. Her organization, founded in 2012, is fairly young, but has already had major successes in its effort to champion women’s rights and safety in Pakistan. They are involved in many areas of policy and have had successes in legislature regarding voting rights, and most recently have passed a resolution against honor killings. They are also active in working to pass laws regarding human trafficking within Pakistan’s borders, an area which has very little oversight at this time.

She spent the week at DAP as well as other organizations in the Metro area, observing therapy sessions, meeting with staff, and discussing policy. According to Khan Toru, places like DAP do exist in Pakistan although they are far fewer there. It is her goal to observe the way DAP and organizations like it operate, take that information back to her committee, and perhaps integrate it into policy there. She especially is interested in the security nets and insurances that we are able to provide for our clients beyond counseling, such as shelters, emergency  funds, and government assistance. According to Khan Toru no such programs exist for victims of domestic violence in her home country.

Here at DAP we are also learning many valuable lessons from her. She met with staff and gave her insights on the cultural and societal factors that play into domestic violence in Pakistan, as well as her thoughts on the universality of domestic violence and the way in affects people. From her observations of group and individual therapy sessions, as well as her conversations with her Humphrey colleagues she concluded: “the issues are the same globally.” While they may appear different on the surface, she explained, the underlying attitudes associated with domestic violence, as well as the emotional toll on the victims, is the same in Pakistan as it is here at home.

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