Griseida:To the end of the world for women

16 Diciembre 2020

The day Griseida knew that she could stop the abuse she had experienced, not only did she start loving herself more, but she wanted that feeling of love and freedom to be experienced by other women as well. 


Grisedia was born in State of Portuguesa, Venezuela. She is a migrant woman, mother, and as she says it with a sweet but firm voice, she is also a leader, she likes to be called la flaca because that is what her first friends in Colombia called her.

La flaca left Venezuela, like many of her neighbors, friends and acquaintances, due to the economic crisis, “I decided to leave my country because I couldn’t get a job, I had a salary to live comfortable with my family, but suddenly  came the anguish of not having what to do, what to eat, so, I decided to come to Colombia.”

According to data from UNHCR, there are 3.6 million Venezuelan people displaced abroad, of which 48% are women. According to a July 30 report from Migracion Colombia, 1,731,017 people are in Colombia and of them, 965,844 have an irregular immigration status.

Griseida is a fighter and committed woman who does not allow herself to be brought down by circumstances, proof of this was the desire to tell her story, the first conversation was short-lived because the cellphone suddenly turned off; however, this was not an impediment, she turned to her friends and neighbors to let her call. For this reason, when she found some space in her work, when she was not sewing, or after sharing with her sons and daughters, she called. And for her being a mother is one of the most important things in life.

La flaca had the first of her children when she was teenager, she suffered a lot to give them a decent life; in her life project is not to have more children, “fortunately I have a subdermal implant, to which I had access thanks to UNFPA programs. Now I know what planning means and I like to share this information, I wish one had known all these things before, but it is never too late .”

The protagonist of this story has had to make the decision to migrate twice, the first time encouraged by a relative, “I did not have a job and someone told me to take that he would help me. So I raised 50 dollars, I spoke with my partner at that time, we agreed that I was going to work in Colombia a few months and then I would send for everyone to migrate, he stayed with the other children and I went to Arauca, but I searched and searched, called and called and found no one, this person never showed up. The following days were terrible, with a lot of uncertainty”.

Griseida’s persistence led her to Cúcuta, it was not easy, she had to knock on many doors, but after a great deal of effort, she managed to gather what she needed to return to Venezuela, and there she took for the second time the decision to migrate.“When I arrived in my country things were worse, so then I had to decide that life comes first, I sold a plot of land, and with that we all came to Colombia.”

Coming back was difficult, but on the stony path there are also flowers, the host communities play an essential role in inclusion processes, and La flaca found several Colombian women on her way who helped her, one of them is Carmen, “she is a leader who knew my whole situation and one day she asked me if I wanted to go to a talk on gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive right, there I met UNFPA, and in that first talk they taught us our rights as women, the routes, also that there are laws and that was surprising because I understood that because I was Venezuelan I had no rights here in Colombia.”

The experience and information that women receive in the community strengthening processes promoted by UNFPA can contribute, among others, to stopping violence against women and saving lives, as it was for Griseida, who after learning of her rights, knowing and feeling that she was not alone, decided she wanted a life free of violence.

According to the Integrated Information System on Gender Violence SIVIGE, during 2019, the number of victims of domestic violence was 90,698, of which 78.65% were women.

Griseida learned to love herself and feel freedom, so she wanted to share her story, “I was one of those who used to say, what’s mine is mine and I keep to myself only [...] but when someone dares to tell their story it gives the other person the strength to tell theirs because we support us all. And as long as there is an opportunity to help each other, there is strength in unity.”

In the middle of the conversation, she sighs and says that everything she has experienced seems incredible, but that she feels happier than ever, “I feel joy, tranquility, I feel happy with myself when I feel I can help women who are going through difficulties... as long as I can I will be there, even if I have to go to the end of the world to save a woman who is mistreated, I will be there.”