Helping others find a way to safety

Helping others find a way to safety


Leela stood up to her husband when he tried to kill her. Now, she helps others speak out against #VAW and seek help. Read

Leela has taken a stand against #VAW in her village and encourages other women to speak out. Read more

Like all the women of her village in Uttar Pradesh, India, Leela, a mother of four children between the ages of 7 and 17 years, tolerated her husband’s anger for a long time. Until one night, he tried to strangle her.

Leela spent the night with her sister-in-law and the next morning, reached out to a local NGO, supported by Oxfam. Ram Chowk, Leela’s husband appeared at the NGO’s office that evening, drunk and angry. He threatened to attack Leela if she did not return with him at once.

The counsellors informed the local police and he was taken to the police station for the night. The next day, a sober Ram Chowk returned to apologize to his wife, but she refused to return with him till her terms were met. A day later he came back, repentant and with the promise that he would not abuse Leela. Leela returned home and the neighbours were asked to keep an eye on Ram Chowk and to report any abusive behaviour.

Gradually, Ram Chowk, a mason, also gave up drinking. “His transformation was unbelievable,” laughs Leela.

This terrible experience had convinced Leela that other women in her situation could also be helped. A week later, she was back at the centre, with another woman survivor. Since then, she has helped many women approach the centre.

“Often it is my husband who asks me to help the women,” she says proudly.

Leela has also had a makeover—from an unsure woman who once believed that it was her fate to suffer, she has become a confident person who knows she can help others. She is aware that her actions are not always well received in this traditional community: “Even women talk behind my back, but I tell them that if they don’t come forward, they will continue to suffer.”

The people closest to Leela are full of praise for her. Among them is her son Pravin, 14. “I am proud that my mother can help so many people. She makes them happy.”


Written by: Oxfam India Staff


Gender Justice

We campaign to change patriarchal mindsets that influence violence against women  

Read More

Related Stories

#COVID19: Oxfam India is responding

23 May, 2020

Patna & Siddharthnagar

Leaving a Life Behind

Mohammed Moin had been in Delhi for a long time. He owned a tea stall and earned a monthly profit of about Rs 10000. Since the lockdown, which began on March 25, he hadn’t been able to set shop.

Read More

#COVID19: Oxfam India is responding

21 May, 2020

Odisha-AP border

The Homeward Journey

Navigating social media has been grim these last two months.

Read More

#COVID19: Oxfam India is responding

18 May, 2020

Tumkur, Karnataka

Livelihood in the Time of a Lockdown

My colleague from the Bengaluru office, Mallika, called to double check if we were documenting the ‘FPO’ story for our weekly update. FPO is the short for Farmer Producer Organisation.

Read More

#COVID19: Oxfam India is responding

17 May, 2020


On Foot, On Truck and Finally, A Bus

The kitchen on the Odisha-AP border in Ganjam district was up and running early today morning. On the menu was vegetable biryani, chole with lemon and onion.

Read More