Ending Gender-Based Violence in India

by My Choices
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Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Ending Gender-Based Violence in India
Domestic Violence Awareness Program in Rajasthan
Domestic Violence Awareness Program in Rajasthan

The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop us from providing survivors with free counselling, a safe home and legal assistance. Our counsellors continued to provide services through our counselling centres and via online/telephone counselling. As of April 2021, our team has assisted more than 11,000 families to live free from violence and abuse. Our team also leveraged online platforms to conduct multiple awareness programmes. Since January 2021 we have conducted multiple webinars on Awareness of Cyber Crime, Self Care, Gender and Patriarchy and Social Media Safety Norms. We also operate active Whatsapp groups with our beneficiaries where we share relevant information regarding COVID-19 protocols, domestic violence and child sexual abuse prevention and assistance. 

Our team has also proactively reached out to vulnerable communities in the remote pockets of the states of Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and West Bengal to create awareness about domestic violence and child sexual abuse. We have conducted more than 800 awareness programmes since January 2021 and have impacted more than 14,000women, men, girls and boys. In many instances, people are unaware that domestic violence is an issue in itself and fail to report it due to the normalisation of violence in families. Our programmes have helped many women understand that domestic violence is an issue that prompted many women to reach out to our counsellors for assistance after attending our programmes. 

Our counsellors are dedicated to providing women and girls with the choice to live a life free from violence and abuse. They take every possible measure to ensure the survivor’s safety as well as their during this pandemic. In cases where the survivor is unable to reach our counsellor’s office, our counsellors also provide door-to-door assistance where they talk to the survivors in their homes whenever it is comfortable for them. 

Story from the field - 

Sarita’s walk to freedom 

Sarita* was married at 21. She didn’t know that her husband was an alcoholic when they got married. 11 years have passed with sleepless nights, broken bones and dried tears because of high levels of violence, harassment and abuse. When she was pregnant, she was badly beaten up by her husband and in-laws. Her mobile phone and money were snatched and she was pushed out of her home in the middle of the night. With no money, she stayed by the door all night. 

Hearing about the situation from neighbours, her parents arrived and took her to their place. After the delivery, the two families met and counselled Sarita’s husband. He assured both families that he wouldn’t be violent anymore. But it didn’t even last for two weeks. Sarita felt helpless and suicidal but accepted it as her fate. The situation worsened and she attempted suicide, but she was saved at the hospital. She moved to her parent’s home and found a job at a supermarket. Since her husband’s harassment continued, she approached a lawyer for help. But the lawyer took her money and disappeared. She was completely shattered and had no idea what to do next.

That’s when she came into contact with one of the PeaceMakers in the community. PeaceMaker enabled her to speak to the Counsellor. After hours and days of counselling, she understood the negative impacts of domestic violence – it was a journey of discovery as well as a ray of hope for her.

Sarita gathered courage and with the help of our legal team, filed a case of domestic violence and felt empowered enough to want to put an end to the relationship. She has taken steps to settle the matter amicably through mutual consent and is all set to start a new life free from violence, abuse and exploitation. Now, she lives peacefully with her lovely two daughters. She inspires women in her community to speak up against violence and shows that women can lead a peaceful life once we stand up for ourselves. 

 

If you are a victim of Domestic Violence, please know that you are NOT alone. We are here for you.

If you are being subjected to domestic violence or are in an abusive relationship please call- 1800 212 9131, if it is unsafe to call leave us a message on WhatsApp/text- 9333 40 4141

 

Domestic Violence Awareness Program in West Bengal
Domestic Violence Awareness Program in West Bengal
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Expansion of our services 

The rise of domestic violence cases during the pandemic highlights the importance of Operation PeaceMaker in providing free counseling services to women and conducting awareness programs to help people understand the harm of domestic violence within their communities. The COVID-19 Pandemic accelerated the need to expand beyond the state of Telangana and was the driving force to reach the many families that have experienced severe abuse due to the lockdown. We focus on providing feasible solutions for women and solutions which respect their choices and needs since domestic violence is a sensitive issue. 

By combining our years of experience in domestic violence counseling and our flagship Safe Village Programs (part of our Anti-Trafficking operation), as well as our use of technology and domestic violence helpline, we use our unique counseling model and make this service available through our partners across the states of Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Maharastra. 

Through our expansion, we are providing counseling services to women and families facing gender-based violence in remote locations along with our operations in Hyderabad, Telangana. We are also conducting awareness programs in the community to help them understand the issue of domestic violence, the cycle of abuse, and redressal mechanisms in place for families facing these issues. We leave behind our toll-free helpline number which people can contact for assistance in cases of domestic violence- 1800 212 9131. We also operate a helpline- 9333 40 4141 for people who cannot call but can text/WhatsApp us.

Prevention Activities 

Since October 2020, we have conducted more than 450 awareness programs across the states of Telangana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Jharkhand. Through these programs, we impacted more than 10,000 women, men, and children. Due to the pandemic, we moved our operations online and conducted webinars on Gender and patriarchy, the Impact of Domestic Violence on Youth, Healthy Relationships, Suicide Prevention, and Domestic Violence Awareness. These webinars were well received and were attended by more than 300 participants. 

Mamta* who attended one of the webinars said, I was shocked and surprised to hear about so many forms of violence. Maybe as I was living in a world where violence is normalized, I had no idea that I play a major role in countering it too. Every topic addressed here reminds me of my personal life and the small incidents I ignored assuming it was normal. Thank you for making me understand that violence of any form is not normal, it is the first step to something brutal." 

We partnered with Umeed for Women to create YouTube videos on Domestic Violence and Reaching out for help during the pandemic. These videos were created in Hindi, Telugu, and Bengali. 

Confidential Quiz

We have developed a Quiz in partnership with Merlynn Intelligence Technologies. This online quiz was released during the COVID-19 lockdown. This quiz helps in understanding whether the person is in a healthy relationship or not. In the last three months, more than 80 people have taken the quiz and many of them approached Operation PeaceMaker for further assistance. 

Counseling Services

We have continued to provide our services through online/telephone counseling. With the drop in the COVID-19 cases, our team started to ease into the offices while taking maximum precautions. 

Survivor Story - 

After four years of marriage, Trisha* could not bear it anymore. She was unable to live in a household where she was being constantly demeaned. 

Trisha, 24 years old had been married to Kartik* for the past 4 years. They have a 3-year-old son. According to Trisha, at the time of their marriage, she was told by her now-husband that he is a post-graduate and earns well. Post marriage she found that everything was a lie, he was unemployed and suffers from psychological and sexual issues. 

Trisha had a difficult time living with Kartik’s family since her mother-in-law would constantly accuse her of being stingy even though she was the sole contributor to the finances of the household. Her father-in-law was an alcoholic and would constantly demean her for everything she did. Her brother-in-law was sick and had been hospitalized due to his unresponsive kidneys. Trisha and her sister-in-law supported the entire treatment financially and she was still blamed for not contributing towards the household expenditure. Unfortunately, during the treatment, her brother-in-law did not survive and Trisha was blamed for his death. Trisha was heartbroken by the blame. To add to her problems, her husband accused her of infidelity. Kartik refused to believe that he is the biological father to their son.

Unable to bear the nagging and criticism, she approached Operation PeaceMaker of My Choices Foundation for help. The counselor assisted her by conducting various exercises to help her better understand herself as well as her relationship with her husband and his family. Her journey towards understanding her self-worth was long and challenging. The counselor conducted various sessions with Trisha- trauma counseling, understanding relationships, and understanding self. Eventually, the exercise that resonated the most with Trisha was the one with an Rs. 200 note. The counselor showed Trisha the note and asked her its value, it was Rs. 200. Then the counselor crumpled the note and asked Trisha the value of the note again, it was still Rs. 200. The value of the note remained unchanged, irrespective of it being crumpled. Through this exercise, the counselor explained that Trisha’s value does not decrease or change because of the various problems she is facing in her life. This encouraged Trisha to choose her well-being over others. She decided to leave her husband as he did not respect, care, or love her. 

Operation PeaceMaker’s counselor’s constant follow-up and counseling sessions helped Trisa realize her worth and also helped her make decisions about her life. Through the various sessions our counselor conducted,  Trisha regained her confidence and self-worth while discarding the internalized misogyny. 

 

*Name changed to protect identify

Domestic Violence Awareness Program
Domestic Violence Awareness Program

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The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for women across the world, many of whom are now locked in their homes with their abusers. In India, the National Commission for Women has reported an increase in cases of domestic violence, rape, and attempted rape since mid-March 2020 when the lockdown came into effect. 

Though the lockdown had required the temporary closure of our Counseling Centers, our counselors and legal experts were still working and using our digital tools (helpline) to reach out to women who were in need of help. With the ease in restrictions, our counselors have moved back to the office, while taking the necessary precautions, to help the women on their journey from victims to survivors. We have also begun the expansion of our services beyond the state of Telangana by training counselors in the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Rajasthan. 

COUNSELING AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE

Our counseling and legal teams are:

  • In constant touch with our existing clients with prior appointments with us and are conducting regular follow-ups to ensure that they are safe and supplied with essential goods required during the lockdown. We have received more than 300 news cases (June 2020 to August 2020) and have conducted more than 1500 sessions to assist survivors.
  • Operating our helpline number (+91 9333 40 4141) to anyone who requires support, encouragement, and assistance that they need during these difficult times. We also introduced our national toll-free helpline number (1800 212 9131) for domestic violence victims. We received calls/messages from more than 40 women who were in distress and needed our help. 
  • Helped 9 women, who came to our Lotus Safe Home for shelter during a time of crisis. We helped these women and children with the filing of FIR at Police stations, providing medical support, counseling services, child care, and accompanied them to Police Stations for moral and emotional support. 

PREVENTION ACTIVITIES

Due to the constraints caused by COVID- 19, we moved all our prevention activities online. We are conducting our school and college awareness programs via Zoom. Topics like gender-based violence, toxic masculinity, patriarchy, cybercrime, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse were covered in these online sessions. Our team also created more than 50 WhatsApp groups with vulnerable people, students, and women to share vital information regarding gender-based violence and conducting sessions on the same. My Choices Foundation also collaborated with a school in Hyderabad to conduct a national level webinar on “ Gender concerns during a pandemic- Safeguarding our well-being”, which was attended by more than 200 teachers and students. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for women across the world, many of whom are now locked down in their homes with their abusers. In India, the National Commission for Women has reported an increase in cases of domestic violence, rape and attempted rape since mid-March 2020 when the lockdown came into effect. 

Though the lockdown has required the temporary closure of our Counseling Centers, our counselors and legal experts are still working and using our digital tools (helpline) to reach out to women who are in need of help. 

COUNSELING AND LEGAL ASSISTANCE

Our counseling and legal teams are:

  • In constant touch with our existing clients with prior appointments with us and are conducting regular follow ups to ensure that they are safe and supplied with essential goods required during the lockdown
  • Operating our helpline number (+91 93334 04141) to anyone who requires support, encouragement and assistance that they need during these difficult times

CONFIDENTIAL QUIZ

During the lockdown, many young people have been reaching out to us and expressing their concerns regarding intimate partner violence. In partnership with Merlynn Intelligence Technologies (one of our technology partners) to create a confidential and free online quiz to assess if they are in a healthy relationship with their partner. 

The quiz focuses on 4 core areas - physical, emotional, economic and sexual - and contains a series a yes/no questions. At the end of the quiz, the user will receive their score and will have our emergency contact information, including easy options to contact local police and medical facilities in their locality anywhere in the world. With this quiz, we aim to assist as many people as possible with our services. 

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Organization Information

My Choices

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @mychoicesfdn
Project Leader:
My Choices Foundation
Hyderabad, Telangana India
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