Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Seeta's Story #16DaysOfActivism

Sambhali Trust and Friends at a rally for International Women's Day 2017 

Domestic abuse is a universal form of violence against women, affecting 1 in 3 women around the world. Precise statistics are difficult to collect since so many women do not come forward. This can often be out of fear –  fear of losing financial security, fear of losing their children, fear of being cast out of their communities, and fear that they will be ignored and it will change nothing, or even worsen the problem. Sambhali Trust is fighting to end violence against women and girls - we support global initiatives such as UNiTE's 16 Days of Activism which raises the profile of abuse against women, and highlights that more needs to be done to help women who are suffering.

Earlier this year, a 29-year-old woman named Seeta reached out to Nirbhaya Helpline and Sambhali Trust to ask for help with her abusive husband and Seeta was soon invited to Sambhali to discuss her situation. Like many other women in India, Seeta’s family decided who she would marry when she was still a child. Her future husband was a taxi driver with very little education while Seeta had earned a Masters in English by the time she married at 23 years old.

Seeta explained that from the very beginning of the relationship, her husband had been emotionally and physically abusive to her, worsening over the course of their marriage. The abuse for Seeta reached crisis point and she left her husband and tried to move back to her family home with her father, with plans to use her good education to find a well-paying job to support herself and her two children. Unfortunately, her husband kept their son from her and refused to allow Seeta to leave with him.
Distressed and unsure of what to do, Seeta came forward to Sambhali Trust. Sambhali's counsellor made contact with her husband in attempt to convince him to release their son, but he refused. In the current system, most women can do very little when faced with these circumstances. Luckily, in this case, Sambhali Trust was able to help. Seeta and Sambhali's counsellor approached the police, and with the backing of Sambhali Trust, the commissioner listened to her story, and he instructed the police to take action and return her son back into her custody.

Women in India often find themselves in positions where they hold no power or credibility compared to the men in their lives. For Seeta, her high level of education equips her with some power, however the legal system is still one that is dominated by men, and places men above women, and the struggle is sometimes insurmountable. Seeta is brave for leaving her husband, and still faced huge difficulties concerning her children, however most women are not able to even do this. Married women are usually not allowed to return to their family homes because once married they belong to their husband’s family, and for women in abusive relationships, there are very few places to turn. Many women in India are uneducated, and cannot support themselves or their children financially, and there is little legal help offered to help women in abusive relationships. This is gradually changing though with initiatives like the Nirbhaya Helpline, where women can send a simple WhatsApp message to a number asking for help.

Sambhali Trust works in various ways to help women who face these kinds of problems. They provide counsellors for women to talk to, and offer practical advice and assistance, such as support with the police, or contacting family members in a safer way, protecting the woman from needing to face her abusive partners. Sambhali’s projects are also designed to help break this cycle that women find themselves powerless in. One way it tackles this problem is through sewing classes, where women learn a new skill that can help to support themselves financially once they graduate. It also provides a safe environment and place of work and a support system close by where they can safely come forward and seek help and advice. This is just one story of one woman’s experience of violence, but it happens to a third of women throughout the world. We must not let violence against women become standard or a given, and we must continue to campaign and fight to eliminate all violence against women everywhere.

1 comment:

Bhast said...

very nice information.
its helpful for improve my blog..
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