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Spotlight on France

"Women's House" offers unique holistic approach to victims of sexual violence

Audio 11:48
The "Maison des femmes" in Saint-Denis was inaugurated on 8 July 2016
The "Maison des femmes" in Saint-Denis was inaugurated on 8 July 2016 RFI/Pauline Renoir

The "Maison des Femmes" or "Women's house" recently opened in the town of St Denis, just north of Paris, one of France's poorest areas. The brainchild of feisty female gynaecologist, Ghada Hatem, it's the first centre of its kind to offer a global approach to female victims of violence and mutilation. Midwives, psychologists, gynaecologists, sexologists, counsellors and family planning staff work together to care for women's physical and mental health in a discrete and friendly place where no one is a number.

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The most challenging part of opening the Maison des Femmes was getting the one million euro funding. It took Hatem five years. Two thirds came from the state, one from private foundations. The centre can now run for two years "but we'll need to go on caring for women for longer than that," says Hatem. 

The team is holding a fund-raising benefit concert at Paris's Dejazet theatre on 26 September. Inna Modja, Bafing Kul and Waris Darie are among those lending their voices to the cause.

 

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