Institute of Social Development (ISD)

Project Theme

Ending Violence Against Women

Target Group

Women

Project Period

01 Mar 2014 - 30 Apr 2014

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Introduction

Violence is all pervading and its manifestation is not just in crimes against women but more deep rooted in social practises which discriminate against girls and women. 

In the aspect of violence against women, forty two percent women in the age group of 15-49 years are subjected to either physical or sexual violence in Odisha. The state stands at 10th position with respect to crimes against women, 7th for Dowry murder and 8th position in terms of rape cases. The White paper of 2014 of the Home department of Government of Odisha states that the crimes against women are rising for e.g. there are 1,832 rape cases in 2013 against 1,458 such cases during 2012. The concern is on low chargesheet and even more low convictions. The violent crimes against women have taken an ugly turn in the large number of instances of women being branded as witches.

Violence against girls and women is so grounded in the norms, attitudes and practices that exist in our society that we often fail to recognise it. Forms of violence such as sexual harassment are often justified and tolerated. Sex selective abortions, early marriages and pregnancy, sexual abuse, domestic violence, forced prostitution, trafficking, dowry torture, rape including sexual assault, denial of care, and abuse and neglect of elderly women are violence that still persist across the state.

 

About the Project

In the aspect of violence against women, forty two percent women in the age group of 15-49 years are subjected to either physical or sexual violence in Odisha. The state stands at 10th position with respect to crimes against women, 7th for Dowry murder and 8th position in terms of rape cases. The White paper of 2014 of the Home department of Government of Odisha states that the crimes against women are rising for e.g. there are 1,832 rape cases in 2013 against 1,458 such cases during 2012. The concern is on low chargesheet and even more low convictions. The violent crimes against women have taken an ugly turn in the large number of instances of women being branded as witches.

 

The Project has Three Main Strategies

The broad strategies for the project would be focusing on addressing the cases of violence against women through the women support centre in close collaboration with the department of police. Partner organisation will also engage itself in developing a rapport with the department of police in order take forward the process of institutionalisation. The process will also ensure engagement with the media on various issue of domestic violence and other forms of violence that are arising in the state. Community mobilisation to build a collective understanding of the communities in addressing violence against women issues.

 

The broad activities under the project are
  • To provide support in a holistic approach to women survivors of violence which includes domestic violence, sexual harassment at work place, rape, molestation, intimate partner violence, false promises of marriage, kidnapping and abduction, trafficking of women and girls, cyber crime against women, sex selective abortion, violence with elderly women, child marriage etc by providing them with various alternative support services like – counselling, medical assistance, legal aid, shelter and  livelihood etc.
  • Build a support system for survivors through convergence of services offered by various departments of government or otherwise at the doorstep of the survivor.
  • To extent support and cooperation in various form to the survivors of violence in the post crisis period.

 

Results to be Achieved
  • Successful functioning of the district level support institutions (Women Support Centres) established in collaboration with police department in Bhubaneswar. 
  • Provide support to women facing violence against women. 
  • Sensitise police officials on the issue of domestic violence and violence against women 
  • Community based groups are equipped to monitor the cases of domestic violence and are able to raise their voices against VAW.

 

Prior Achievements  
  • During 2014-15 ISD has conducted vigilant committee trainings at the district level , conducted Marriage registration camps, organized Public Hearings involving the government officials at 3 district levels. 
  • ISD  during 2014-15 also organized mass awareness campaigns in remote locations of 3 districts in coordination with District Administration 
  • Conducted cultural campaigns to spread awareness on domestic violence  during 16 days of activism on violence against women and March 8th International Women’s Day 
  • The Kandhamal Women Support Centre has dealt with  cases of Domestic violence and have provided counseling, legal, medical, shelter and vocational support to them

 

 

Impact by partner
  • During 2013-14 ISD has conducted vigilant committee trainings at the district level , conducted Marriage registration camps, organized Public Hearings involving the government officials at 4 district levels. 
  • ISD during 2013-14 also organized mass awareness campaigns in remote locations of 4 districts in coordination with District Administration
  • Conducted cultural campaigns to spread awareness on domestic violence during 16 days of activism on violence against women and March 8th International Women’s Day
  • The Kandhamal Women Support Centre has dealt with cases of Domestic violence and have provided counseling, legal, medical, shelter and vocational support to them

Case Study

Indira Maharana, Phulbani, Kandhamal

Is it even a marriage? This is a question Indira Maharana asked herself a hundred times a day during the last two years. One year of engagement period during which her fiancée constantly talked to her from Delhi followed by a grand wedding ceremony in her hometown Phulbani. “It was on our wedding night that my husband broke the news to me. That he was already living with a girl in Delhi and that I was not to come there ever.” Indira was stunned but summoned enough composure to ask him why he married her then? “To pacify my family, you stay here and take care of them. My life is in Delhi with my beloved,” was his adamant answer.“All through our engagement, he kept teasing me that he would bring another girl and leave me. I did not even realise he was only half joking. Suddenly, he was gone and I, a married woman, was left alone. The two weeks he spent with me, he picked up fights at the slightest pretext.”Indira initially kept her husband’s waywardness a secret. She tried calling him to discuss the situation with him but he never answered her calls. He would call the family, talk to everyone else in the house but ignore her completely. Indira went into a depression, bewildered at what happened to her. “One thing was for sure. I knew I could not continue in the marriage. But I heard that divorce proceedings were a prolonged process. I had to find some other avenue.”Then she confided in a relative who suggested that she should go to the State Women’s Commission. Indira lodged a complaint with the Commission and her husband’s family, who till then pretended to be unaware of his peccadilloes, swung into action and launched a counter. After making umpteen trips to capital Bhubaneswar, Indira realised the futility of the whole exercise and approached the additional Superintendent of Police of Kandhamal district and was sent to the Women Support Centre run by partner organization ISD.

“That was the turning point for my life. My husband who agreed for a divorce first then withdrew and I had to file for it. Meanwhile, the team from the Support Centre summoned my husband and in-laws. He never turned up but sent his elder brother. They were so pompous but my friends here punctured their pretension in minutes,” Indira recalls with a smile.The team then made a settlement, accompanied Indira to her in-laws’ house and recovered all the stuff that has been given at the time of the wedding. They also arranged for Rs 20,000 as food compensation and Rs 1500 as subsistence allowance. “Everything has been retrieved, gold, clothes, vessels, furniture everything.”Indira then began to chalk out a new life. She takes personality development classes for girls at an NGO AHIMSA in Phulbani. “I tell them about a positive outlook and instil in them courage to face life. I tell them my example and how I strove to solve my problem instead of rotting in my non-existent marriage.”Indira now is waiting for the divorce to come through and then she wants to seek a good job somewhere and move on. “My mother is a deserted woman and I have seen how society treated her. I hated this society. I did not want to be known as a deserted woman too. I wanted to go off to Haridwar and join some Ashram. The Social Workers here told me that was not going to make my life better. They helped me learn a positive lesson from my marriage episode.”For Indira, the world now is a big place, beyond Phulbani, and full of new opportunities. And she is all set to fly.