In the fight to defend human rights and make sure justice is accessible and attainable to everyone, we risk our physical and psychological well-being. To understand holistic security, one needs to be mindful of the social, political, economic, environmental and other systemic factors that provoke and reproduce inequality, violence and patriarchal attitudes and practices.
Self-care is a security mechanism that can help women human rights defenders (WHRDs) cope with physical and digital risks and prevent burnout and vulnerabilities at an early stage of our roles as activists. At its core, self-care challenges the patriarchal vision of women as carers of the family and community, at the cost of undermining our own sanity and health. Often, self-care is only related to the individual level. But it cannot be separated from the collective well-being within our organizations, shared efforts, and movements. Collective self-care, as an essential part of integrated security, is a feminist act of resistance and resilience that contributes to transformative social change and strengthens the sustainability of our work.