EmPOWER

Project Theme

Ending Violence Against Women

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Jul 2016 - 31 Mar 2017

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Introduction

Azamgarh is one of the extreme backward districts in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The mindset of the people is still very feudal. Gender and caste are the sources of various kinds of discriminations, assaults and violence. Women are principal providers of care and support to families. Yet social indicators show 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 behavior. 

SRSP works for the sustainable social and economic empowerment of women and dalits. The focus is on a rights based approach through which these marginalized segments of the rural India are sensitized about the dignity of their human existence. The tools of this endeavor are education, capacity building by skill up-gradation, exposure to the laws of the land and international conventions with creative activities like theatre, music, and painting. Efforts are also made to involve these potential groups in other areas like water conservation, forestry and preservation of oral and written folk traditions which may enrich their life. Special attention is paid to the improvement of their health and hygiene.

 

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 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 SRSP is in district Azamgarh. SRSP runs the support center within the premises of Superintendent of Police office where women survivors get counselling, legal or medical aid as per their requirements .The coverage under the project is as follows: 

• Total number of districts -1 

• No of blocks-3 

•Total number of villages- 60

•Total no of Gram Panchayat- 20

•Total number of  house - 1900

Till now they had provided support to 2398 women through the support center in terms of counselling legal or medical aid.

 

Results to be Achieved: 

  1. Government officials in the relevant departments (Police, Protection Officers under 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.
  2. Women experiencing violence, especially those from marginalized communities, in the programme districts increase their access to formal justice system.
  3. 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. 
  4. Prior Achievements:
  5. In Women Support Center based in the premises of SP office in Azamgarh 169 cases were registered and women survivors were provided with holistic support like counselling, shelter, medical aid and legal aid.  This helped the women survivor’s to get the justice in time.
  6. Around 35 cases were brought to Women Support Center by the members of vigilance committees. At present there are 42 vigilance groups with 469 vibrant members in the project area, tracking issues of domestic violence and violence against women and girls.
  7. Women survivors who had earlier approached women support center referred 19 new cases of domestic violence to Women Support Centre. This proves that women survivors who receive support from the center are confident and empowered to guide other women survivors.
  8. During 16 days of activism large number of youth was mobilized on the issue of gender based discrimination and violence against women and girls.  A total of 4300 youth which included 2410 girls and 1890 boys were engaged during 16 days of activism. 

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries: 

“Yahan aa kar muze jine ki taakat mili hai. Mein ab apna jivan barbaad nahi hone doongi. Mei agge padhoongi aur apne pero par khadi rahoongi”. Pratima, Azmatgarh block Azamgarh.

 

Case Studies/Human stories: 

Unwinding All The Ties : “Sometimes holding on does more damage than letting go.”

Love is not a tasteful delight for everyone. For some it may be the cruelest weakness of them. Pratima had seen the worst face of love in her life. She had been bitten not once but twice. Pratima lived in Azmatgarh block of Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh. She was pursuing her graduation when her parents decided to marry her against her will. She shared the fact that she had been in a relation with Abhishek, her neighbour. Yet she was married off to Raj, a person she knew nothing about from Haria Block of the same district. 

Abhishek continued to visit her and Pratima decided to be friends with him and devote herself to marriage. Things were going smoothly as Abhishek and Raj had become friends too. However, this state could not continue for long. Raj soon got to know about the affair she had with Abhishek before marriage. It took no time for him to thrash Pratima for belonging to someone else before being married to him. Pratima had to pay the price of loving someone. Pratima could no longer live with Raj and decided to go back to her parents’ home. Soon Raj filed a separation case and Panchayat decided in the favour of separation. 

Pratima thought that her love could finally win now. She decided to marry the man of her choice, Abhishek. As far as their relation was concerned, Abhishek had not minded visit Pratima’s house even after she was married. But now when it was the time to marry her, Abhishek displayed his shallowness. His parents were against the marriage and instead of convincing them, he turned away from Pratima. Pratima was betrayed in love yet her she wanted to fight for it. She still wanted to marry Abhishek.

Pratyusha took all her belongings and sat in front of Abhishek’s house asking them to accept her. After the intervention of police and S.D.M (sub divisional magistrate), the family was forced to let her in. But as timid as Abhishek was, he had already flown off to Mumbai. Within 10 days, she was thrown out his house too. 

Pratima still did not want to let go. She decided to take the help of authorities. The SDM referred her to SRSP, a partner organization of Oxfam India. When she reached SRSP, she was in a completely dilapidated state. The staff knew that she needed counselling and so a series of counselling sessions were held to get her back to her rational self. 

The organization sent letter for meeting with the boy’s family, but they all fled away fearing the intervention of such an organization. The organization managed to locate Abhishek’s brother, who was serving in the police. He was asked to surrender Abhishek for the case. Even though he surrendered, he was soon out on bail and the case is still pending. 

But Pratima has got what she actually needed. Pratima needed to let go. She had to stop loving the person who did not care for her. Pratima has decided not to marry or pursue Abhishek anymore. She has rather chosen to move on in life and let go all the ties that she was tangled in. She needed to see the right direction which she got from the support center. She has completed her graduation and is pursuing a computer course in C++ language. 

She had held on to something wrong for too long and letting go finally brought her the happiness she deserved.