A HAND TO HOLD
When you read the stories of women like Damuben, Bhina, Neeta and Chokhaliben, the overwhelming feeling is that these are brave women. It takes a lot of courage for women to stand up for their rights. To say that they will not face violence any longer, or accept a bigamous marriage, that they will not tolerate being humiliated is considered an affront to the system that is Patriarchy. These women have dared to seek help. Far too many women die unheard - as dowry deaths or as suicides - or continue to suffer in silence. The National Family Health Survey III (2005-2006) shows that more than one in three married women in India (39%) and Gujarat (34%) faced some form of domestic violence. It is a collective shame for us and a strong call to action.
Therefore with the explicit aim of supporting women in distress, Oxfam India started its work in 2009 in five states of India - Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh - as a part of the International NGO’s Partnership Agreement Programme (IPAP) supported by Department of International Development (DfID), Government of United Kingdom.
The mainstay of this work is to build support structures for women - within Police Stations and at the community level. Oxfam India was able to collaborate with the Police Systems, Civil Society Organisations and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to start support centres for women within the premises of police stations as a pilot project. Today, we support 17 centres in 16 districts of the above mentioned states. We are deeply thankful to the Governments of these states for sharing their space with us and allowing women to seek redressal for the violence they have faced.
This booklet highlights the stories of women who came to the support centres in Gujarat
A Hand To Hold: Creating Space For Women