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The Power of Courage
Naureen Khan & Gender Team, Oxfam India
The cycle of violence and submission can be long drawn but some women do gather the courage to break it regardless of age. Shobha Devi made that break at the age of 60.
Shobha, a resident of the village of Chakmahi, Vaishali and a member of the SC community has endured years of physical, emotional and psychological distress. However, after being beaten almost to death by her husband Ramshwar Das one evening, she found courage. “What more can I lose?” she asks showing the painful bruises on her thighs, arms and stomach.
One evening her husband accused her of using washing powder and dragged Shobha by her hair and let lose a volley of kicks and hit her with a wooden rod. When the neighbours heard her cry for help, they rushed for her rescue.
The thrashing left Shobha in the hospital for eight months. A persistent pain still runs through her limbs and her legs are often swollen. On the basis of a complaint she filed against Rameshwar at the Hajipur police station, he was arrested.
It took Shobha more than 13 years of persistent abuse to come to a realisation. Initially, Rameshwar worked in a jute mill in Kolkata but after he suffered an accident that left the bones on his face crushed, he gave up his work. To earn bread, Shobha started to work in the same jute mill but her husband grew increasingly bitter, short-tempered and suspicious. Many times he demanded her to leave the job but Shobha refused.
The situation rapidly degenerated. The abuse took myriad forms. Shobha gave up working at the jute mill hoping to buy peace at home. Oxfam India with its partner organization in Vaishali, stepped to counsel Rameshwar and took Shobha to the women’s police station with an application requesting an end to the violence. When the violence did not stop after multiple counseling sessions, Oxfam’s work helped Shobra to file a complaint against her husband’s abuse. Shobra now lives a peaceful life with her new found courage and has resumed work. She feels that no women should suffer in silence.
In case you wish to make a monthly contribution to help women like Shobra to live a violence-free life, please click here, https://www.oxfamindia.org/womenrightstele
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