SRYN conducts awareness raising activity with young women to protect them from human rights abuses.
Incest and rape are all too common in Myanmar, and cases often go unreported. The Sagaing Region Youth Network (SRYN), with support from a grant provided by Tetra Tech’s Promoting the Rule of Law Project (PRLP), is combatting sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) with awareness raising activities that inform citizens of their rights and helps them access protection mechanisms. SRYN, established in 2012 in Monywa, conducts regular lectures discussing legal protections and penalties for child abuse. SRYN’s other activities include a billboard campaign about child rape cases in both rural and urban areas of Monywa, distributing informational booklets, and offering a legal hotline for victims to access information directly when they need it most. SRYN is also providing free legal representation for women and children who suffer these human rights abuses.
Recently, SRYN supported Nyein Myat*, a 12-year old girl who was a victim of incest. She is from a divorced family and was living with her father who repeatedly raped her. Nyein Myat struggled under these heinous conditions and dropped out of primary school. After suffering for more than a year, she confided in her mother and a neighbor about the incest. Her mother filed a case with the police, and after learning about the services of SRYN, she requested legal representation to assist her daughter. SRYN provided a lawyer who helped Nyein Myat understand the legal process and how to be an effective witness. After numerous court sessions, the father was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Thanks in large part to SRYN’s assistance and legal aid lawyer, Nyein Myat is free from her father’s sexual abuse. Her experience will encourage other victims to report their abuse, knowing they will be supported by organizations such as SRYN. SRYN continues to conduct community awareness events in targeted locations such as high schools, and has installed billboards near hostels where many women and girls reside.
Rape victims often feel disenfranchised, lacking knowledge of their rights and facing cultural norms that prevent them from reporting their abuse. The people of Myanmar are increasingly more willing to report abuse cases to civil society organizations (CSOs), knowing they will receive both legal and social support. PRLP continues to support capacity development of CSOs, through grants and technical assistance, to enhance access to justice and to protect the human rights of Myanmar citizens, especially vulnerable groups such as children.
* Represents fake names to protect the identity of individuals who have shared their stories.