“I can shake off everything as I write my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” Anne Frank
These words by Anne Frank (a Heroine) express perfectly the core of Heroines project: the use of writing as an empowering tool to women for overcoming difficult and violent situations, and thus ….become heroines.
But, is it really possible to become a heroine just by writing? The answer is yes, it is possible.
The Cambridge Dictionary describes a heroine as “a woman who is admired for having done something very brave or having achieved something great”. Overcoming a violent situation is really doing something very brave and achieving something great and difficult also. Then, every woman who achieves to survive, to not surrender and to overcome gender-based discriminatory situations is, without any doubt, a heroine.
Unfortunately, it is still a reality that all women are exposing to gender-based violence and discriminations, but for the women who will take part in this project the risk is greater. They are women living in rural areas with mental health functional diversity. The risk of suffering gender-based violence for them is 4 times higher than for the rest of women. The 75% of women with mental health issues have experience gender-based violence in their lives.
This project aims to support them in their overcoming process with the use of therapeutic writing, which is a really efficient empowering tool. There are many studies that probe the beneficiary effects of writing in the mind and mood. One of these researches was taken by James Pennebaker: he got a group of people to spend 20 minutes per day writing expressively about something that evoked an emotional response, usually something traumatic or upsetting; and another group who wrote about things they had no connection to. What was the result? Those writing about non-emotional subjects experienced no difference, but those who wrote expressively visited the doctors less – they literally felt better.
In Heroines project we will practice therapeutic writing in groups, sharing with other women feelings and emotions, so they won’t explore the topics alone, but supported by experts and by other women. The benefits of writing for wellbeing have been acknowledged as feeling more confident, feeling ‘heard’, leaving behind negative memories and associations, finding joy, feeling comfortable with vulnerability, managing stress, having fun and feeling empowered. All of this for free, available to everyone and without negative side-effect!!
So, let’s write and …“the Force will be with you”!
By María Carracedo, Fundación INTRAS
 The UN declaration describes violence against women as: ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.’ This is the meaning we take in HEROINES project.
 These data come for the research made by FEDEAFES (Spanish Federation of Associations of Families and People with Mental Illness)“Investigación sobre violencia contra las mujeres con enfermedad mental“ (2017).