ISWO (Indira Social Welfare Organisation)

Project Theme

Ending Violence Against Women

Target Group

Women

Project Period

01 Mar 2014 - 30 Apr 2014

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Introduction

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)
Impact by partner
  •  During 2013-14 ISWO has provided support to about 187 women in Dhenkenal district through the support centre based in Superintendents office . 
  • ISWO has actively advocated for the implementation of PWDVA in the state through senistisation of various Government stakeholder like WCD officials, Protection officer, Service Providers etc.
  • ISWO has been able to assist 16 women to register a DIR for implementation of PWDVA. 
  • ISWO has been engaged in mobilization of the communities in 2 blocks of Dhenkenal District on gender and Violence Against Women issues. 
  • 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

Case Study

Basanti Baral, Harida Pasi, Dhenkanal

She is all dressed up but her face is despondent. She patiently waits until her husband appears at the doorstep. And then straightens up and prepares for a confrontation. Battle light enters her eyes. Basanti Baral has a strong reason to be angry. And her husband’s self-righteous stance visibly irritates her. But for the counselling team, the issue apparently is a highly resolvable one. They joke and offer eatables to the couple at odds. The issue: Prabhat Baral is angry that his wife took away her jewellery and kept for safe keeping at her father’s house. His contention is that she is selling the gold to give money to her brother to build a new house without seeking his permission before she moved the gold.

Basanti claims she took away the gold as she was apprehensive that her alcoholic husband would sell even the gold. “He comes home drunk every night, tried to sell virtually everything in the house. If I try to stop him, he will beat me up. This is my gold, my stree-dhan (articles and monies given during the marriage) and I will keep it where I please, why should I seek his permission?” she says.The issue led to a major confrontation in the house and Basanti left home and moved to her parents’ house. As Prabhat pursued her, she approached the Women Support Centre, run by partner organization ISWO, attached to the Superintendent of Police’s office in Dhenkanal. The Support Centre then summoned the husband as well as Basanti’s family.“So you want the gold? Ok, leave your wife and son then. Take the gold and make peace!” says Bhanumathi, Social Worker, tongue in cheek. Prabhat looks alarmed. “No, no. I want them too. They are mine,” he says forcefully. The discussion continues with allegations flying back and forth and Basanti bursting into tears at the irate tone of her husband. But, finally, peace is made.

Basanti’s brother and father, present at the reconciliation session, produce the gold jewellery that Prabhat claims has been sold off. He looks at them as the counsellor matches his list with the various pieces. He finally relaxes and a smile appears. But Basanti is still furious.

It is then that the counselling team begins its discourse. With consummate skill and ease, they list out the complaints that were made by Basanti, about his alcoholism, his violence, his habit of giving only a pittance for household expenses, his tirade against her family and many such.

An agreement is drafted and both parties along with the witnesses, including family members and elders from both sides sign it. The list of do’s and don’ts makes for an interesting read. “No more references to the gold incident; no nasty remarks against each other’s family; both should welcome the in-laws cordially; Prabhat should stop drinking; spend time with the kid; give 80 per cent of salary at home...” and so and so forth.

Reconciliation is something that requires a lot of energy, patience and time. And the counselling team spare no effort or time and in playing peacemakers to the warring couple and prevent a major marital disaster.

The Social Workers of the support Centre were instrumental in conducting a successful counselling session between aggrieved Basanti and her husband in presence of the family members. A domestic discord over stree dhan was reconciled which otherwise would have gone unreported.