Survivors of domestic abuse and modern slavery celebrate International Women’s Day

The trauma faced by women who have experienced domestic abuse or modern slavery is huge. Often, they have been made to feel worthless, brutalised both physically and mentally.

Experiencing domestic abuse or modern slavery can make you feel powerless. The opportunity to reinstate a feeling of self-worth and confidence is paramount in recovery. This International Women’s Day, we hosted an event in Wandsworth with the hope of doing just that.

Focusing on empowerment, the event looked to celebrate individual beauty and the opportunity for change.

The event was opened by Jasmine O’Connor, CEO of Anti-Slavery International, Miriam Minty, Head of Modern Slavery at the Home Office and Lisa Kesper, Global Education Manager at beauty brand ZOEVA, each addressing the audience with their own inspirational anecdotes and relaying the importance of International Women’s Day.

From left to right: Abigail Ampofo, Director of Operations at Hestia, Jasmine O'Connor, CEO of Anti-Slavery International, Miriam Minty, Head of Modern Slavery at the Home Office, and Katie Beeching, Head of Modern Slavery and Domestic Abuse at Hestia.

Following opening speeches, attendees were invited to head to a number of workshops and beauty demonstrations. The ZOEVA team were on hand to offer fabulous makeovers, as well as providing the women with a luxury gift bag each, filled to the brim with beauty goodies.

Healthcare product manufacturer PZ Cussons offered manicures, while HSBC UK ran a money management workshop, informing attendees on how to set up certain bank accounts and how to handle saving money.

In the run up to the 2020 Mayoral elections, it’s crucial that women who have fled domestic abuse know how to vote anonymously. The event facilitated a voting workshop, where women were taught how to vote safely and securely and shown the policies and priorities of the 2020 candidates vying to become the Mayor of London.

Attendees were also given boxes of essential toiletries and treats by WPP marketing technology consultancy firm Cognifide, with one attendee saying that the event “felt like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one”.

Cupcakes and doughnuts were also provided by Wenzels the Bakers, alongside a buffet lunch.

Last year alone, Hestia supported 2,225 women and children to recovery from domestic abuse, as well as 1,337 adult victims of modern slavery across our services in London and the South East.

This years’ International Women’s Day theme is #EachForEqual. International Women’s Day is a global celebration marked annually on 8th March, and works as a platform to elevate issues faced specifically by women and campaign for equality internationally.

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