Women refuse refuge because of nearby mosque
From Stuff of New Zealand
Muslim women are staying away from a domesitc violence crisis centre since a mosque opened next door.
The Auckland Shakti Asian Women's Centre in Onehunga helps women escape violent domestic situations but women are too scared to go because they may be recognised by their husbands or relatives attending the mosque.
The centre has an alternative premises but cannot move in because Auckland City Council has held back planning permission for more than a year.
Meanwhile, Housing New Zealand Corporation is paying $310 a week $4030 so far for security guards to keep vandals away from the empty building that the women could move into.
Centre spokesperson Shila Nair said victims were "really afraid" to go to the centre in Church St, Onehunga in case they were recognised by men worshipping at the Onehunga Islamic Mosque, which is over a boundary fence.
Women who visited the centre usually did so without telling their husbands, she said. "If their husbands, in-laws or any other family members or friends were to know that they have visited Shakti, life for them would be even more difficult. We have had instances of women who visited our Women's Centre later accessing our refuge."
The housing corporation renovated another building for the women to move to after the mosque bought a building next door from the Jehovah's Witness church.
The centre opened a decade ago and is the busiest of Shakti's five branches in Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch, which together they help 6000 women a year escape domestic abuse.
Posted on 01/31/2009 4:07 PM by Esmerelda WEatherwax