Institute of Social Development (ISD)

Project Theme

Ending Violence Against Women

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Apr 2016 - 31 Mar 2017

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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 practices 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.[5] The state stands at 10th position with respect to crimes against women, 7th for Dowry murder and 8th position in terms of rape cases[6]. 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 stat

 

About the Project: 

The project has an overall goal to contribute to the reduction of social acceptance of violence against women and girls at the individual, community and institutional levels with special focus on tribal women in Chhattisgarh and Odisha 

The project has three main strategies (and for Odisha strategy 1 and 2 are relevant)

  1. Resolution of violence: Providing access to justice to women facing violence through 17 Women Support Centres located in the police premises (which still continue to be the first port of call for women) and 6 support centres located in the partner NGOs in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, and in the state of Uttarakhand a network of women’s organizations and individuals. All together the number of direct cases of violence that have been provided justice is more than 39000 in the past five years.
  2. Prevention of violence: Oxfam believes that prevention of violence is always better than resolving actual incidences of violence. It has promoted more than 100 community based informal structures to spread awareness on the issue and prevent violence. About 70 such cases have been taken up by the community based groups
  3. Policy advocacy: Oxfam India has been advocating with both state and national level governments on the gaps in the implementation of the Act and the required actions. Oxfam was successful in coming together of 25 organisations working together on domestic violence to form a loose coalition to build pressure on the government for the necessary changes. One key achievement was the state of Gujarat accepting the effectiveness of our model of support centres based in the police premises and scaling it up throughout the state. Moreover, the police have initiated a similar model in Odisha on their own where Oxfam is providing the technical support.

 

The broad activities under the project are:

➢To provide support in a holistic approach to women survivors of domestic by providing them with various alternative support services like – counselling, medical assistance, legal aid, shelter and  livelihood etc. 

➢Build a support system for survivors at the community level through leadership development of the community based vigilance groups 

➢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 Women Support Centre established in collaboration with police department in Kandhamal. 

➢Provide support to women facing violence against women. 

➢Sensitise police officials on the issue of domestic violence and violence against women 

➢Community based vigilance committee groups are equipped to monitor the cases of domestic violence, have sound knowledge on laws related to women and government schemes and are able to raise their voices against VAW. 

 

Prior Achievements:

  • The Kandhamal Women Support Centre (WSC) addressed 125 cases of domestic violence. 
  • We have created a strong vigilance committee in every 12 villages to check-out the domestic violence issues at village level. 
  • Vigilance committee members referring the cases of domestic violence to Women Support Centre 
  • Our counselors represent in the Collectors grievance cell. 
  • Counselors are the members of different district level committees (like anti trafficking/rape victim rehabilitation committee/ inspection of children’s home, district level women welfare committee 
  • A coordination committee has been formed to monitor the activities of WSC in every quarter. Each quarter the coordination committee will be reviewing the activities of the Women Support Centre 
  • Created a space for the Survivor to raise their voice through Survivors’ Forum at District level 
  • A strong youth group has been established at district and state level. Youth groups of the community will be raising cases of domestic violence and connect with the WSC. Also, they will act as peer groups to educate their peers on the issue of DV and laws related to women.

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries: 

 

Case Studies/Human stories:  

Case study of Kalpana Behera 

Age: 23 yrs

Village: Gumapadar

Gram Panchayat: Sritiguda

Block: K.nuagaon

District: Kandhamal

 

A Fourth Class pass out Kalpana could not continue her studies further due to economic problems in her family. She had an affair with Ramesh Behera from her own village. Ramesh, a carpenter by profession, persuaded Kalpana to accompany him to Jaleswar in the District of Baleswar where he promised to marry her. “He told that we should get married by eloping as his family members would not agree to our marriage. He also told me that we would leave for Delhi after getting married in Jaleswar,” she says.

The couple got married and stayed together three days in Jaleswar. Somehow, both the families came to know about elopement and the marriage. While the witness on Kalpana’s side was her uncle, Ramesh’s elder brother got the couple from Jaleswar. For nearly three months after their marriage, the couple stayed at various relatives’ (Ramesh’s uncle and sister’s) houses. “But we were not quite happy as I was not treated properly there,” she says. 

So, one day, Ramesh and Kalpana left the house of his sister. On the way, Ramesh took Kalpana’s gold bangle saying he would pawn it and get money to take a house on rent. “I kept waiting for him but he never returned,” she says. Kalpana then went to her in-laws’ place where she was given a very bad treatment. Neither did the members of her in-laws accept her neither did they treat her well in the coming days. “I was also abused physically and mentally and they constantly demanded Rs 5000 from my father who would not have been able to afford,” she reveals. 

Finally after being physically abused and almost thrown out of her house, Kalpana returned to her parent’s house at Sirtiguda. Kalpana’s parents informed the incident to the vigilance committee members of Sritiguda village. After listening to the case of Kalpana the members conveyed this to the counsellors of Women Support Centre, Phulbani. The efforts have been made by the counsellors for an amicable settlement before the case was filed in the police station. After 3 reminders the family members of Ramesh attended the centre but they were quite adamant and did not agree to keep her in their house. The case was referred to Protection Officer to file under PWDV Act-2005 and so far there has been no progress. At present Kalpana is at the Short Stay Home of Banabasi Seva Samiti, Baliguda and the counsellors are pursuing the case with the court.. 

 

Future plan:

Sensitizing Government stakeholders for better response to cases of domestic violence as well as implementation of the PWDVA. 

Outreach with various grassroot level Government functionaries for reaching out to many more women. 

Mobilizing communities specially men and boys on the issue of discrimination and violence against women.