We are seeing an increase in calls and cases during January to March 2021, due to our press release and through our leaflet campaigns in Jodhpur where we were distributing leaflets to inform people about Sambhali’s project, our free counselling services and legal help. We have included doing workshops on mental health and legal aid in our Empowerment Centres and provided “door-step” counselling sessions in our centres and boarding homes.
However, currently, Rajasthan has been in another strict lockdown since 10 May due to extend to 21 June 2021 and all our centres are now temporarily closed until restrictions are lifted. Sambhali’s efforts at present are concerned with providing food rations to those in need both in Jodhpur and the rural Thar desert area of Rajasthan, as well as providing a telephone counselling service, through our SOS telephone helpline.
Counselling and legal aid are still being provided to the sufferers of domestic abuse and both telephone and video counselling are now being used as a means of support.
Here are some examples of cases from January –March 2021:
Case Story 1
Education: Class 5th
Occupation: Learning Sewing at Empowerment Centre.
Husband's Occupation: Driver
Issue: Domestic Violence
Detail of the case
J is living in Jodhpur with her husband and children. Her husband is dependent on alcohol which is causing fights at home.
The main cause of all the issues is finances, as the family are not able to manage all the household expenses, like food, school fees of the children and rent of the house. J is anxious about her husband's consumption of alcohol with the respect of the current situation. Due to the pandemic the work has not been on a regular basis and this has caused a financial crisis in the family. She is working at her landlord's so that she can pay the rent of the house.As they have not received any support from the family in this situation she is feeling helpless and unable to deal with the situation. She joined one of Sambhali’s empowerment centre for sewing and started her own stitching work at home because her husband is against working for other organisations.
They had not registered themselves in the government's scheme for rations and other benefits for Below Poverty Line and they had found it very difficult to manage the daily expenditure for basic necessities.
In this case the main cause of the issue was finances so the counsellor decided to connect with the government's scheme to apply for benefits. J was also counselled about the situation and how to react and respond to this. The counsellor discussed the deaddiction for her husband and how she can help with that. She was asked to call her husband for counselling so that they could discuss the issues together. According to J, the husband was very reluctant to take help from other people but she was assured that they could achieve good results by doing this.
J’s husband was then assessed and taken on as a case in his own right for alcohol dependency and depression. J’s husband was hesitant at first to speak about his emotions, but said that he felt helpless to not be able to look after the family. He agreed to take help and the counsellor advised a visit to a psychiatrist at the local hospital who has experience in dealing with alcoholism and provide any necessary medication.
The counsellor decided that J’s husband required medical help, the family needed financial support through government schemes and also counselling. The Sambhali counsellor connected the family with ration schemes and scholarships for their children and books. She also made appointments for regular counselling sessions.
Because of the pandemic the government was unable to help with putting her name on a ration card register, but she can be helped with a labour card which can provide the scholarship to the children and medical facilities at low cost or for free. This case is still in process and Sambhali Trust is working with the local administration to provide food rations to those in need as well as working on a longer term strategy of providing government help.
Case Story 2
Issue: Rape of Minor
P arrived at the Sambhali Office with 2 relatives and 4 daughters. Sambhali’s counsellor was told that P herself had been a victim of domestic violence and also that her daughter S, who was 15 years old had been raped. An FIR (First Information Report) had been lodged and a statement had been recorded by S whilst in hospital for the magistrate. Unfortunately P only realised the situation after her daughter was 5-6 months pregnant and she became unwell resulting in baby being delivered prematurely which died the following day. Following the statements, there are 2 suspects who are being investigated. The situation is very complex and regular follow-ups have been necessary with the police authorities and an application made for a speedy trial.
P, as a survivor of domestic violence for a long time in her marriage, was also in need of rehabilitation. She had attempted suicide twice in her life. She received short-term refuge in Sambhali Trust She received short-term refuge for 2 weeks with her family, but then returned home leaving 15 year old, S in Sambhali’s care and provided with in-house education through the boarding homes as part of her rehabilitation.
Case Story 3
Age: 14 years
Issue: Rape and Kidnap of minor
An FIR (police complaint) was lodged by D’s father. D is a 14 year old girl from a minority caste family. Two men approached D on a motorcycle and offered her chocolates and invited her to go with them to go and buy her some new clothes. At that point they snatched her and carried her on the motorbike to a dwelling where one of them raped her whilst the other tried to stop her screaming. In D’s father relating the story it was found that this perpetrator had also raped a young woman who was his own neighbour in the same way. Following the rape, D and her father have both been threatened to be killed by the perpetrator several times.
Sambhali Trust has assisted with lodging a petition which has been filed in the High Court for fair and impartial investigation into this current matter to enable justice to prevail and prevent these perpetrators repeating these horrific offences.
Case Story 4
Age: 41 years
Issue: Domestic Violence
G and her husband have been married since 2002 and have 2 children, 11 and 18 years old. G is earning an income herself through selling items online and her husband has a job in a newspaper agency. Currently G is living with her mother following abuse at home. G is complaining that her husband is verbally and mentally harassing her and she claimed that she has always been suffering in this marriage and that now she is tired of all the sufferings and adjustment and now she wants security for her kids and maintenance from her husband as she claimed that her husband has been negligent towards her and her children’s wellbeing.
The cycle of abuse was made understood to G by Sambhali’s counsellor to which she confirmed that she has been going through the same. The types of domestic violence were explained as well. Her legal rights as a mother and wife were also explained to her and she wants to file a case against her husband for maintenance and protection from her husband. She claimed that she fears from her husband that he will try to harm her. Besides her husband, her in-laws have also been abusive towards her. A case under domestic violence and for maintenance was filed by March. Her children are currently living with her. She is staying with her mother for a certaintime.
She has been hesitant in filing a case against her husband at first and was worried if it is going to be time-consuming. Once the procedures were explained to her, she was then willing to file a case against her husband to get maintenance for herself and her children and protection from her husband. Counselling sessions were taken where she still complained about her situation that there has been no relief. I asked her to accompany her husband for a couple counselling sessions to see if the situation could be repaired.
G’s husband was called to discuss the matters put by her. G’s husband also had many issues to discuss and so after hearing both of them individually, both were asked to sit together for a week approximately for 2 to 3 hours daily to have counselling sessions to discuss how these issues could be resolved. . After a lot of issues being aired in these discussions, the couple were made to understand the importance of each other, keeping their growing children in view. They explained the importance of both the parents individually in their children’s life along with the financial constraints for their well-being. They were counselled on matters of respect for their spouse in front of family members. The in-person counselling sessions ended with a happy note with both of them agreeing to conditions of each other and constant follow-ups were done through telephone calls so as to keep the things normal.
We thank you for all your support in helping these women to receive counselling and support to enable them to have better lives.