RAHAT

Project Theme

Ending Violence Against Women

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Apr 2015 - 29 Feb 2016

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Introduction

Violence against women is the most rampant form of inequity and human rights violation, contributing to their social exclusion and poverty. The nature of violence against women pervades all caste, class, ethnicity and religion. Women are the worst sufferer because of prevailing inequity within society, which in women’s case reflects in the form of violence. The unequal power relations between men and women lead to gender based violence which is one of the most significant mechanisms by which individuals, societies and states retain power over women. The Status of women in Bihar is particularly poor because of a lethal combination of feudal, caste and patriarchal oppression. The deep rooted patriarchy in Bihar is reflected in societal denial of women’s rights and the low status of women in Bihar. The situation of women from marginalized communities is even worse. Being placed at lowest rungs of social order they face acute forms of violence both in public and private spaces.

Despite making nearly half of the total population, the indicators of development show women lagging behind sharply.  The policies and actions initiated by Government have not sufficiently addressed the issue related to inequities and gender based violence.  The prevalence of different forms of VAW in Bihar has been repeatedly established through various study reports. Due to poor implementation of law and sluggish response of law enforcing agencies, there has been considerate rise in violence against women. Among all other forms of violence against women, domestic violence against women is the most difficult to address as, often it is perceived as a part and parcel of marital relations. There is an associated silence around this form of violence due to cultural norms. 

Given the context of rising incidences of violence, factors perpetuating violence and sluggish response of law enforcing agencies, the project “Promoting Violence free lives for women”  is planned to be implemented through a network of NGOs in 6 districts of Bihar. 

The project activities will be coordinated by the lead NGO - Rapid Action For Human Advancement Tradition (RAHAT). RAHAT addresses various social issues pertaining to women viz. violence against women, trafficking of women and children, livelihood promotion, health and nutrition, micro finance etc.  Currently the organization is running a Women Helpline & Short Stay Home for women victims of violence and carries out hand –holding activities supported by Women Development Corporation (WDC). The women helpline was initiated in the year 2007 and has till date addressed more than 3000 cases. Also, RAHAT runs a short stay home for trafficked victims. The significant work of women helpline was recognized by the state government and has received the excellence award. 

 

About the Project: 

The overall vision of the project is to reduce social acceptance of violence against women by bringing positive changes at the community level through changing social practices and belief systems that perpetuate VAW, enhancing integrated provisions of appropriate support by State and non-State actors for women experiencing violence and fostering policy advocacy to bring reforms in laws, policies and practices related to women. The interventions will be based on three mutually reinforcing processes that work together to reduce violence in the lives of women – 

•Grassroots programming through identified partners in six districts and improve access of women to formal and non formal system of justice. 

•State level advocacy complementing to the national advocacy strategy and campaigning for mobilizing and Advocacy efforts under this programme would aim at achieving substantive gender equality through effective implementation of gender laws, change in public policy, and to bring gender justice to the public attention.

•Empowering women, men and youth in communities to challenge discriminatory belief systems and practices. 

•Engaging with educational institutions for generating awareness among youth 

 

Major strategies adopted this year- 

Building Grassroots Campaign: A grassroots campaign will be initiated by raising awareness on social and legal aspects of gender discrimination and social exclusion. 

Policy advocacy for increased responsiveness of government service delivery mechanisms, enhancing women’s access to formal justice system, availability of support services;

A multi-stakeholder approach in a convergence will be adopted by establishing linkage with various services available to women facing violence.  

Sensitizing and involving communities and individuals to challenge and initiate actions against patriarchal and other discriminatory social practices and belief systems that perpetuate violence against women would contribute in preventing and reducing violence against girls and women. 

Capacity building of civil society networks, CBOs and other stakeholders will be done to advocate for, support the implementation and monitor the functioning of support services for preventing violence against women at state and district levels.

Capacity building of relevant government officials on gender, gender based violence, implementation of PWDVA, the Centrally Sponsored Scheme and other laws. 

 

Activities: 

•Support to women survivors of violence approaching the network and linking them with the various support services. Regular case handling and counseling support will be provided by the community based women’s groups. 

•Capacity Building of CSO and staff  on Advocacy and Gender Laws

•State level strategy meetings of network for planning interventions and review of the project in Bihar

•Meetings with youth group in educational institutions and quarterly meetings. 

•Capacity building of Gram Kachahri/PRI  members  in Bihar on PWDVA 2005 and role of Panchayat in addressing 

•Capacity building of lawyers, police and other government officials for effective implementation of PWDVA 2005. 

•District level Convergence meetings with various government departments addressing VAW and establishing a multiagency response system.

•Gaon Jodo Abhiyan: Awareness campaigns to fight discrimination on a local and bring about changes in ideas, beliefs and discriminatory practices perpetuating violence against women

•District level youth festival to be organised every year( poster competition, play, debate etc)

•District /State level convention of women’s collectives

•Engaging with various stakeholders and mobilizing communities against broader issues of inequality through awareness generation campaigns

•Interface meetings at block/district level for reviewing the pending cases of violence

 

Results to be Achieved: 

•Civil society networks, activists, community pressure groups and committees on VAW are capacitated  to advocate for, support implementation and monitor the functioning of support services for VAW at the national, state and district levels 

•Government officials in the relevant departments and other stakeholders are sensitized on the issue of VAW, especially on PWDVA and related laws and women’s leadership.

•Increased awareness amongst men, women and youth on different forms of discrimination and violence against women and women’s leadership.

•Women networks, PRIs and referral support agencies providing services to women facing domestic violence through counseling, linking them with medical support, shelter homes and vocational training opportunities

 

Prior Achievements:  

•Community based women and youth groups are in place and through these groups 2000 women and around 1800 youth are participants of the project in 6 districts of Bihar.

•Women and girls survivors of violence especially those from marginalized communities received counseling, legal aid and other referral support services. 

•Engagement with educational institutions for the formation of youth group in the institution for carrying out awareness on VAW. 

•Through capacity building, district level consultation and interface meetings, a rapport was built with range of stakeholders like lawyers, judicial magistrates, social welfare officers, police, media, district magistarate, CSOs etc.

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries: 

Amola Devi- Kanhauli  

“Formation of women’s group in the village was truly empowering for us. When we initiated we were individuals but now we are together. We had no idea about the causes of violence against women and women had accepted violence as their destiny, however, over the period of one and half years we have learnt a lot about the factors perpetuating domestic violence against women . We have together confronted the issues and now feel confident to intervene into any case of domestic violence against women.”