The Women’s Strike activist is also under attack from the public: “I’ve received threats through messenger and by phone. Sometimes from haunted women stupefied by religion, but also from within right-wing circles, because I strongly defend the rights of women and minorities, mainly LGBTQI+.”
We Will Finish Them Off Financially
“My husband’s dismissal from his job has had a heavy financial toll. We have two children, one is studying and the other is a minor. My husband has been the main breadwinner for years, as the school we ran only brought in income in 2020.” At the end of last year, some parents pulled their children from the school because they disagreed with Iwona’s activism. From September, some of the children will continue at a rival Catholic institution. This has meant dissolving one class in Iwona’s school due to lack of pupils.
“It is painful. Especially as I am aware it was the female employees associated with the rival school who are responsible for my problems with the Board of Education,” Iwona says.
The lack of financial stability and the prolonged disciplinary procedure, the stress that accompanies her on a daily basis, carrying the responsibility for all the protesters in the city, has taken its toll on Iwona’s health. “I am strong mentally and I have the support of my loved ones, but I now have heart arrhythmia, frequent debilitating headaches, and major stomach and spinal issues. My doctor says it’s stress. This was not the case before.”
If Not For Family And Friends…
“My family admires and supports me. I surround myself with wonderful people who do nothing but help me. My husband is with me on the streets protesting alongside me, from beginning to end. I am supported by the girls from local women rights groups.”
The activists met in the autumn and formed a regional support network. Iwona received support from local LGBT+ community, pro bono lawyer groups and independent journalists. “I receive help from excellent lawyers from the Supreme Bar Association and journalists versed in my situation. I also count on the MPs and deputies of Spring.” What she cannot tolerate – lecturing, criticism and a lack of understanding – she doesn’t experience from “her own people”. Thanks to this she holds on, doesn’t break down or lose faith. She believes they will come out of this with the upper hand.