Amsterdam: Mailboxes against domestic violence

Amsterdam: Mailboxes against domestic violence

In order to fight domestic violence and isolation, the municipality of Amsterdam intends to put mailboxes in various strategic places around the city where women who are victims could leave their cries for help.

"Everything begins with a signal," says Amsterdam alderman Marijke Vos. Her idea is that women would smuggle out a letter or leave a written note during the few times they're allowed outside.

The mailboxes would be by trusted people such as doctors, teachers, midwives or also, for example, at the Islamic butcher or a municipal office.

Vos made the lan with Fayza Oum’Hamed, after whom the letters are named. Oum’Hamed came to the Netherlands as an import bride, was locked up for years in an Amsterdam apartment and freed herself after years of misery. She wrote a book about her experiences. "Such a letter could have been her salvation," says Vos. The Amsterdam GroenLinks alderman admits that it's not so simple to reach import brides. Another difficult point, according to Vos, is that even if the women manage to to send a cry for help, it has to be taken care of. "Everybody should take the Fayza letters seriously." Training of social workers, a public campaign to make people aware of the existence of abuse and isolation, are part of the plan.

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

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