HUMSAFAR

Project Theme

Ending Violence Against Women

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Jul 2015 - 30 Jun 2016

Share this on
Introduction

Violence against women is the fastest-growing crime in India, a recent study concluded. Every 26 minutes a woman is molested, every 34 minutes a rape takes place, and every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped, according to the Home Ministry’s National Crime Records Bureau. Women are principal providers of care and support to families. Yet every social indicator shows a fundamental social bias and inequality. Newspapers and periodicals of all hues in India often carry reports about violence against women (VAW). These include among others incidents of young brides being burnt for bringing ‘insufficient’ dowry, women dying in abnormal circumstances, rape on hapless women and molestation of young girls. In some cases there are public protests by women activists and such protests receive media coverage. 

Domestic violence suffered by women on a regular basis in the form of psychological or physical abuse goes unreported. Very rarely do women themselves file police cases against the ill treatment meted out to them. A few women who escape death end up in shelter homes, but the majority continues to live in marital union and endure abusive behaviour. Humsafar has been supporting women survivors in Lucknow and neighboring districts since 2008 and working on protecting women’s rights in Uttar Pradesh. HUMSAFAR’s primary activity is to provide various forms of support to women survivors, including paralegal, legal, medical, social mediation, rescue, shelter and rehabilitation etc. HUMSAFAR’s secondary objective is to create a social environment which upholds women’s rights and dignity, where violence against women is unacceptable, and a society which supports and empowers women survivors’ struggle.

 

About the Project: 

This proposed project will address diverse kinds of violence that women are subjected to- domestic violence, declining sex ratio, trafficking, development induced violence and other forms of violence. Research and advocacy initiatives will be undertaken to cover the entire state through alliance network partners. Continuous interventions will be made with various government departments to ensure improvement in policy situations. Moreover, the project will seek direct engagement with the population from excluded communities like tribals, Dalit, PWDs, and other backward caste women in the state of Uttar Pradesh

The project aims to break the silence and acceptance on violence against women (VAW) through awareness programmes, sensitization workshops and by challenging the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour that perpetuates violence against women through campaigning, lobbying and advocacy and by strengthening women survivors to lead a life with dignity (support to women experiencing violence by State and non-State actors) The project would target all the actors that are involved in either perpetuating VAW or not fulfilling their mandate in prevention and relief, these being the individuals (perpetrators and survivors), families, communities, society and the state.  

 

Objectives of the project 

1.Reduce the social acceptance of violence against women and bring a positive change in the policy and program environment that perpetuates its acceptance at an institutional and community level

2.Provide holistic support to women survivors of gender based violence through formal and informal justice 

3.Change such behaviour and attitudes of men and women that perpetuate discrimination and violence against women

 

Coverage Area 

The head office of Sahayog (Humsafar) is in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Under the project they are the implementing support centre and also doing some community activities. The  coverage under the project is as follows: 

•Total urban neighborhood - 15

•Total number of Ward -11

•Total no of blocks -5  

•Direct beneficiaries- 6500 women 3100 men

Till now they had provided support to around 6000 women through support centres by counselling, legal and medical aid.

 

Results to be Achieved / Impact: 

•Government officials in the relevant departments (Police, Protection Officers under the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), Women & Child Development Officer) are sensitized on support services, related budgetary allocation procedures to be followed for expenditure, and time bound orders for implementation of PWDVA.   

•Women experiencing violence especially those from marginalized communities in the programme districts increase their access to formal justice system.

•Men and women aged 15-50 years in the programme districts are sensitized on VAW and have demonstrably increased their knowledge on laws related to VAW and legal and other support services available for those experiencing violence. 

Prior Achievements:

•HUMSAFAR organized  workshops on understanding the Protection of Women from Domestic  Violence Act 2005 for police officials which was attended by 94 senior police, administrative and judicial officers of the six districts of  Lucknow Division, namely, Lucknow, Sitapur, Unnao, Rae Bareli,Hardoi and Lakhimpur Khiri. The officers representing the policy and administrative wings of the government jointly attended the workshop which helped to identify the gaps. An assurance to file Domestic Incident Report instead of First Information Report in cases registered under the DV Act was given.

•A notable achievement I was  117 fresh cases approached HUMSAFAR this year out of which 35 has been referred by satisfied old survivors, rest of the 82 cases were  referred by a range of volunteers from members of mitra mandal,  Nigrani Samiti representatives, media and even service providers  like the courier person, milkman etc who come to HUMSAFAR office.  

•Community mobilization and building Nigrani Samiti as a pressure group to address Gender issues and Challenge VAW through public meetings and campaign. 

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries: 

Raat is intazar may beet jati hai saveray kaam per jana hai aur din kaam may beet jata hai ab didi preshan rahany ka samay hi nahi rahata hai. Humsafar kay is Sahayog ko main kabhi bhool nahi sakti.....Sheela    

 

Case Studies/Human stories:

Journey of  rapprochement

Sunaina took some years to understand the enormity of the injustice that had been inflicted on her and her children. Even though she knew that a confrontation would be weighed against her, she decided not to back out. She waited for eight years hoping that her husband Ashish and in-laws would change their behaviour. While Ashish worked in Mumbai in the artificial jewellery business, she lived with her in laws in the village of Meghpur (Azamgarh) with her two children, facing daily abuse and threats. “They wanted me to leave. When I asked my husband, he said it was because he did not like my face”, she says. Yet she chose legal help as the last recourse. Sunaina and Ashish were distantly related and so the former’s family did not make too many inquiries before the wedding, soon after which he had left for Mumbai. Her requests to join him were stonewalled by the in laws. When she complained to Ashish, he said he did not have enough money to keep her. The only time they permitted her to go to Mumbai was when her mother intervened. She had barely settled into her new life, when her mother-in-law got her back. The abuse worsened.  “They would fill my husband’s ears with false stories about my character. Slowly even he stopped speaking to me”, she says. On his yearly visits home, Ashish began to pressurise her for a divorce. By then the two children had been born and since the prospect of having to bring them up without any support played heavily on Sunaina’s mind, she resisted the pressure. The fear that if she returned to her brother’s home, she would never be permitted re-entry into her married home, kept her from leaving her in-laws despite the worsening abuse. 

“He should have made the decision to leave me when we married. Why after two children were born?” she asks. 

In 2012 the abuse became unbearable after her brother-in-law (Ashish’s elder brother) attempted to molest her. When she locked herself in a room, he threatened to break down the door. Her cries for help attracted the neighbours and she escaped. The next morning she fled with her two children to her brother. 

On the advice of a survivor, she approached the support centre run by SRSP in Jokehara where a Domestic Incident Report was filed. The centre sent out summons to her husband. The couple and the family were counselled and a formal compromise affected in the local thana. According to the terms of the compromise, Sunaina would stay with her brother for a year during which Ashish would make arrangements for getting her to Mumbai. In the interim, he would send money to support his wife and children. Despite the organisation’s persistent efforts, the money comes intermittently.  Sunaina’s brother, a teacher at the local government school, has assured her that he will try to find her some work in the school. She realises that financial independence is the key to her future.“My brother has his own responsibilities. For how long will he support me?” she asks. That sense of insecurity sometimes drives her to consider a re-conciliation, but now its risks are clear to her. She says that she will continue to fight for her maintenance as her children’s future depends on it. “I need to stay strong and focus on my children. They are all I have”, she says with a determination that is a testimony to her new found courage.