FARR

Project Theme

Ending Violence Against Women

Target Group

Women

Project Period

01 Mar 2014 - 30 Apr 2014

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Introduction

A UNIFEM report says nearly 60 per cent of the Violence against women is the most pervasive and least recognized human rights violations for women. One in every two women in South Asia experiences violence in her daily life. Social, cultural, political, economic, and legal factors in the region combine to leave women vulnerable to community-sanctioned violence. The following statistics elaborate the case in India. 

  • Despite various constitutional guarantees, gender equality and women empowerment is yet to be realized and women in India continue to face gross inequalities within and outside the households
  • The sex ratio for 0-6 year fell from 945 females per 1,000 males in 1991 to 914 in 2011 which is the all time low (Census of India report 2011)women in rural India get married before the age of 18 and 60 per cent of married women become mothers before they are 19 years of age.
Impact by partner
  • A total of 1096 number of cases have been registered in three centres at Kalahandi, Rayagada and Cuttack districts. Out of the 1096 cases 45% of cases have been reconciled through counselling.
  • It has been seen that since project implementation more number of cases are coming from marginalised section and mostly from SC and OBC category.
  • Out of the total registered cases economic and sexual violence cases continues 65% and almost all survivors face emotional and physical violence
  • The cases are being referred by a wide range of stakeholders like Police, ex-clients, PRI members, Collector’s Grievance Cell and women have come directly without any reference.
  • Survivors in the age group of 19 to 40 constitute 80% of the total cases.
  • Besides counselling the support centres also provide various referral services like provision for shelter, medical help, police help and help for economic reintegration.

Case Study

“Nineteen years is a long time to be married to someone. And you would think you know your spouse inside out. But, that is not true as I have discovered the hard way.”

Meenakhi says these words with stoic resignation. There is no bitterness in her now that her husband of 19 years, decided to stay with another woman in his life. Raghumani Naik is a security guard at the local park. He is paid no salary and his income came only from the tips that parents of kids who play in the park gave. Ironically enough, Meenakhi and Raghumani, both of different castes, fell in love and married against the wishes of their families.

“It was my job as Anganwadi worker that helped us light the chulha everyday. In spite of that, I really loved him,” says Meenakhi. She was devastated the day she learned that her husband was into an extra-marital affair. “He said I needed to adjust and that she was also working so she can give him money too. She was a relative, well-known to me, but I never expected that something like this would happen.”

Meenakhi came straight to the Women Support Centre, Kalahandi, run by FARR, as she was already aware of its existence through her friends who attended its inauguration. She filed an application for a joint meeting saying she wants him back and that he should be convinced. “But later on, I realised that all I wanted was for my kids, a boy and a girl, to be given a secure future. I was no longer interested in the relationship.”

The 40-year-old Anganwadi worker then sought the intervention of the Support Centre in getting her a residence order under the PWDV Act . The order was important as she feared that Raghumnai might ask her to leave along with children. She now lives in the house that belongs to her husband. Raghumani has been made to contribute to the running of the family by making him bring wheat, rice and sugar on his ration card. “I know he does not make much money, so it is ok. He loves the kids, brings them food and gifts. I am ok with that too.”

There was a time when Raghumani was adamant and hostile. “’It’s my wish how many women I want to keep. You have no right to speak’, he told me. Once I got the residence order, I showed it to him and told him to get out. I said ‘Do what you please, but this is my house and I will live here with my kids.’ He slowly yielded. I think he is afraid of me now that he knows the Support Centre is behind me,” Meenakhi says with a faint smile.

Meenakhi has the support of her in-laws who disapprove of their wayward son too. And she now wants to bring up her kids with the money she makes. “I want them to become engineers and get into big jobs.”

The Kalahandi Women Support Centre was instrumental in helping Meenakhi to get a Residence order under the PWDV Act. Such supports are imperative from WSCs as many a times women do not understand how to make use of a legal provision meant for them.