Monday 16 June 2008

Mary launches new Mary Foundation initiative

Photo © Steen Brogaard/Mary Fonden

Last Thursday, 12 June, 2008, Crown Princess Mary took part in the launch of a new focus area of the Mary Foundation at a women's refuge in Copenhagen. The Women's Home is one of a few which offer sanctuary and protection for women and children in crisis. Mary and others earlier packed rucksacks which are handed out at all shelters, including shelters in Greenland and the Faroe Islands. There are four types of contents in the bags depending on the age of the child from infant to teenager. They contain basic nescessities like a toothbrush, underwear, personal toilet articles, books, toys and in all of them a teddy bear. Some women arrive at a shelter fully prepared with suitcases while others are literally on the run and arrive with nothing. Every year about 2,500 children follow their mother to a shelter and half of those bring nothing with them when they arrive. The rucksacks with emergency needs are just a small part of the Mary Foundation project. The aim in this present launch is to bring a focus to the plight of victims of domestic violence and backing the groups supporting the victims and to stimulate open discussion about it, not just among those in the field already familiar with the issues. Mary's message is that the discussion needs to be in wider society to raise awareness and a sense of shared responsibility, and about getting the message across about what behaviour is unacceptable. We can expect to see more happening in this area as the project unfolds, which includes an upcoming conference in November among other things.

Photos © Kristian Sæderup/Berlingske Tidende,, Keld Navntoft/Scanpix, Teitur Jónasson/, Velje Amts Folkeblad/Polfoto/Carsten Snejbjerg and Steen Brogaard for MaryFonden

Crown Princess Mary's speech 'Nyt indsatsområde i Mary Fonden' - New initiative for Mary Fonden (June 12th 2008)
As chairman of Mary Fonden it's a pleasure to be able to bid you all welcome today for the launch of our focus on 'Battered women and children'.
I'd like to start by thanking the Women's Home for the opportunity to hold Mary Fonden's launch here at your premises. Thank you very much. At the same time I'd like to also thank our expert panel for your presence today - and for your substantial and dedicated effort in co-operating with Mary Fonden. Thank you very much.
I am glad to see that so many are here today, because this is Mary Fonden's - and my - big hope that together we can highlight violence in the home with this [launch] today. Together we can stimulate debate in both the home environment and in society as a whole.
And that from today we'll talk about the private sphere as a shared matter. In speaking about it and discussing it - by condemning the action and not the person - we can send a clear signal to battered women and children that we strongly distance ourselves from the violence - from the action - and that we focus on the people and on their situation. We see, hear and acknowledge them.
Today the day is about helping. It's about Mary Fonden's goal: to prevent and diminish social isolation. To promote tolerance and understanding of inequality. And to create hope.
At the same time it's about the core of Mary Fonden and the basic idea: everybody has the right to belong. Everybody has a right to a life without violence.
I have considered the possible questions I could get today a little and would like to put to you a little pre-emption. A question might be:
What drives the Crown Princess' work on violence in the home?
...and to this I'll respond that this is Mary Fonden - with me as a chairman - who has brought a highly taboo subject up along with the launch of the focus on 'Battered kvinder and Children'.
We have identified that in Denmark there is a great taboo about violence in the home. And this is [something] we would like to take part in changing.
We have started the work with creating greater understanding of violence in the home to prove that violence is never acceptable, and that violence can never be justified.
Mary Fonden's hopes are to give a voice to those women and children who on an everyday basis live with the big, dark secret which violence at home is. [It's] a possibility of a life without violence and social isolation.
In telling their story Mary Fonden hopes to be a catalyst for a debate which will create added understanding of this exposed group's situation.
Thus my role today is - as I said in my introduction - directly attached to Mary Fonden's basic idea: everybody has a right to belong. Another question to me might be:
Why 'battered women and children' exactly? this I'll say that Mary Fonden is founded with the goal of prevention and to counter social isolation. Battered women and children are a very isolated group because of the spiral of violence they live in. At the same time, as I said earlier, it is very taboo and so there is great embarrassment (shame) associated with this group of individuals - as much as our eyes do not see it, we [neverthless] want to see it. At Mary Fonden we have identified a need and a possibility to help ...
Finally I can remember from Mary Fonden's launch against bullying that many asked about my personal experience. Many wished to know whether I personally had been bullied. Or whether I personally had bullied others.
If I have to transfer those questions to today then I can say that my personal knowledge about battered women and children originates from what I have learned from my patronages in Denmark and abroad - and from my work as chairman of Mary Fonden.
To see a person standing alone is [something] which affects me greatly. And as a direct consequence of violence in the home, women and children are alone.
Over a given period the battered woman is cut off more and more from her earlier safe environment - from all contact with the person's network. She stands alone and isolated - but always with the hope in that moment - it'll be better. It isn't the next time. Or the next time.
Also the children stand alone and isolated. Fear guides their weekdays and prevents them bringing friends to their home. And it [prevents them] from telling others about what their life is really like.
Therefore it's Mary Fonden's hope to help to give these women and children a new chance. To help them to re-establish their life and make them a part of the community. And to do it at all is about creating debate and breaking the [existing] taboos. Because if there is less taboo, there is a greater chance that women might talk about their situation and seek help.
If we can make one woman take a brave step out off the violence, we'll have gained a lot. And if we can help one child to get a new start in life, we'll have come far.
Thanks. CPM (a DRWs translation) news clip (06:22) - a clip of Mary's whole speech
The Mary Foundation (in English)

About the Women's Home (refuge) in Copenhagen, which is a crisis centre open day and night for women and children in crisis, for example, because of violence at home. Women can just go to the refuge or be referred by a public authority. The home is a safe temporary refuge for women and children at a time of great difficulty in their lives. The women's home focuses on resources and future prospects rather than problems and obstacles. There is special protection for battered women and their children. With shelter in acute situations it is also possible to live anonymously from a violent husband, de facto partner or other violent person. The house is kept locked to ensure security and visitors are vetted.

Berlingske Tidende 'Mary til kamp for voldsramte børn' 'Rygsække til voldsramte børn'
Velje Amts Folkeblad 'Mary vil hjælpe voldsramte'
Billed Bladet 'Kronprinsesse Mary blev til Marilyn Monroe' - Mary struggled a bit with her skirt and smiled: "My skirt is giving me trouble. Sorry." And then professionally continued talking to the journalists while keeping her skirt in check.
Her & Nu 'Mary: Vold skal aldrig accepteres'
Kristeligt Dagblad 'Mary trøster voldsramte børn'
TV2 article 'Mary hjælper voldsramte kvinder' - Mary helps battered women
Every year about 28,000 Danish women are exposed to violence from their partner, and on averages 24 of these women lose their life.
In an attempt to create attention for the problem of battered women, Crown Princess Mary has decided that her foundation, Mary Fonden, will work against violence in the home.
With a number of initiatives the fund will highlight the problem of women and their children in both "close surroundings and in society as a whole", says a press release...
Mary Fonden was founded in 2007 and has the aim of promoting tolerance, assisting where there is inequality and helping those who are socially isolated.
When it was founded the fund had capital of 73.6 million DKK, which come a number of private donations.

B.T. 'Marys rygsække trøster voldsramte børn'

Madeleine Glindorf's photo gallery

DR netTV (01:04) - Mary emphasises that just like bullying it's important that no one is left to stand alone. In this case, that no women being subjected to violence or abuse are left to face their problems without support. The bag shown in the clip is a kit for all new arrivals and their kids to the women's shelter, as many of them arrive with very little if anything.
DR news clip (01:54) web TV (00:49) scroll to 'Mary mod vold i hjemmet'
Berlingske webTV (00:48)

Many thanks Muhler and gudinde!

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Blogger logansrest said...

I have enormous respect for what Mary is doing in this area (wife and child battering) as well as the bullying of children.

9:59 pm  
Blogger Lynette said...

Thanks again Lotte, It is easy for those of us so far away to imagine that the socialised democracies of Scandinavia do not suffer from the scourge of domestic violence. That refuge is beautiful and Mary's emphasis of the isolating affect of domestic violence reveals her incisive ability to empathise with others with whom she associates, even if from a distance.

1:00 am  

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