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Learning of the struggle against hegemonic masculinity

WE (PVCHR) heartily welcome the order given by the Hon’able Supreme Court of India as published in the various newspaper that, “Daughter-in-law should be treated as a family member and not housemaid, and she cannot be "thrown out of her matrimonial home at any time". The Hon’ble court said while expressing concern over instances of brides being burnt and tortured in the country. It is a matter of grave concern and shame that brides are burned or otherwise their life-sparks are extinguished by torture, both physical and mental, because of demand of dowry and insatiable greed and sometimes, sans demand of dowry, because of cruelty and harassment meted out to the nascent brides, treating them with total insensitivity, destroying their desire to live and forcing them to commit suicide, a brutal self-humiliation of life.
WE every day receive two to three cases of the domestic violence in our office. The cases are not only related to the dowry, physical and mental violence but many cases are of sexual violence, branding daughter in law as witch craft and violence for giving birth to female child. We found that one of the main causes why domestic violence prevails and continues is the lack of alternatives among the victims due to patriarchy. Due to which Women and children are economically dependent on abusers. In almost all cases they generally feel, it is better to suffer in silence than to be separated from loved ones. They keep hoping for improvement, but it is normally observed that, without help, violence gets worse.
The survivors does not provide all information because feel ashamed of the poor quality of the relationship. Abusers may fear the consequences of seeking help, unaware that continuing as before may be even more dangerous.
Every day my husband show me a photo of the girl with whom he is going to second marry. Hearing this I had many sleepless nights in my inlaws house and after completing household work I have to work in the field. Looking my deteroting health condition my inlaws gave pain killer and took me three times to ojha and sokha. Day by day my condition become worst than they send me to my parents house. In my parent house I always remember about my husband and my marital life. Slowly - slowly I even forget my own identity and started to roam in my village as a mad woman. I was diagnosed as a patient of mood disorder, Says Munni (name changed). This is not only single story of Munni but many women in India are facing same type of consequences.
We provided the legal remedies under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and psycho – social support through testimonial therapy and it is used for the Intervention to the concerned authorities and medical treatment. Being in a continuously violent relationship the survivors faced many psychological effects s incredibly isolating, anxiety and low esteem. Due to which survivors seek for the fast remedy in the case or look of the immediate settlement in the matter and punishment to the abuser.
The survivors faced apathy from the various concerned authorities and police due to the patriarchal understanding. Their attitudes towards such crimes are a “private matter” is most plain with regard to police treatment of criminal offenses involving domestic violence, for which police are empowered to make an arrest without a warrant. The Protection of Women from The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 of 2005 was enacted to augment women’s immediate protection from violence through emergency relief, including access to temporary protection orders and domestic violence shelters. But due poor implementation of the law, women facing imminent and life-threatening violence remain almost solely reliant on police aid.
In most of the cases due to the lengthy justice process and no economic and social protection to survivors result extra – legal comprise involving few people from both side as witness. Poor and hapless women who don’t have money to travel to the district office to file complain or do follow up of the case. Even in District Probation office they have to pay to 10 Rs each time to get the new dates and even also during the time of the mediation of the both parties. Survivors are again sent to their husband house as the matter to test the relationship as abuse/violence will not revise again.
Shabnam’s in-laws took her back again to Pratapgarh and then she went to Lucknow, where she spent 5 months with her husband and got pregnant. After five months they sent me back to my parent’s house. I with the heavy heart hiding my tear and pain went to my parent’s house. Several time I tried to contact my husband but he changed his mobile sim. I waited for my husband call for several months and I was in very confusion what to do. In Asha hospital I delivered Aadil. Everyone in the family was happy with his birth. I came to know he got complication in his back and his operation was urgently needed otherwise its poison will spread over his entire body. Anyhow my family managed the expense of his operation.

Children witness the domestic violence in a variety of ways. For example, they may be in the same room and may get caught in the middle of an incident, perhaps in an effort to make the violence stop; they may be in another room but be able to hear the abuse or see their mother's physical injuries following an incident of violence; or they may be forced to take part in verbally abusing the victim. Children are completely dependent on the adults around them, and if they do not feel safe in their own homes, this can have many negative physical and emotional effects. All children witnessing domestic violence are being emotionally abused, and this is now recognised as 'significant harm' in recent legislation.

Children will react in different ways to being brought up in a home with a violent person. Age, race, sex, culture, stage of development, and individual personality will all have an effect on a child's responses. Most children, however, will be affected in some way by tension or by witnessing arguments, distressing behaviour or assaults - even if they do not always show this. They may feel that they are to blame, or - like you - they may feel angry, guilty, insecure, and alone, frightened, powerless, or confused. They may have ambivalent feelings, both towards the abuser, and towards the non-abusing parent.

“I was a branded as a witch and they asked me to leave the house along with children and they dragged me out. I started crying and asked my mother in law that where I would go with children. My sister in law said there was no space for evil spirits inside the house. I had to spent days without food and whenever I got something I shared it with my children. One day my sister in law dragged me on road from near the house and I came to my mother’s house with children. Upset and in tension my husband climbed up a Guava tree. I don’t want my husband to climb down the tree which he is living on due to my mother in law and my sister in law. I don’t want to stay with my in laws and once my husband gets down I will bring him to my parents house. My children are crying for their father and I am crying for my husband. Until I am able to live with my husband and children I will not get relief. I fear what my husband might be eating and when I try to eat something I cry”, Says Tara

WE are making the survivors of domestic violence economically empowered and Self- reliant through helping them to getting job and getting higher education. Shabnam will the tear of happiness said, after the wedding, my world changed, I don’t know I have to see this day but now I am self – reliant. I have my own dream and I will give proper upbringing to my both son. Her dream is to to become nurse and serve the people.
In span of 3 years WE received the few fake cases of Domestic Violence because women are also violent in patriarchal society due to patriarchal socialization, but their actions account for a small percentage of domestic violence.
Our two founders (Lenin Raghuvanshi and Shruti Nagvanshi) faced the malicious prosecution in charges in Varanasi (99/13 under section 342, 348, 498 of IPC) and during advocating the case of the domestic violence.
WE does not received any specific funding for the working against the violence against women but WE believe that Violence against women and girls as functioning on a continuum that spans the life-cycle from the womb to the tomb. WE (PVCHR) created the awareness among the people on the Domestic violence Act, 2015 and created local cadres (Aguwas) including responsible men in 250 villages in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Koderma district of Jharkhand.
“Women need to be empowered through the strongest tool – education. They don’t need to be subservient to anyone, but at the same time, men must change their mindset towards women. If they are more respectful towards them, then things will change at the grassroots level. It will happen slowly, but everyone has to move together. Madhuri Dixit
Link:
• Submission To The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women: http://www.pvchr.net/2013/04/submission-to-un-special-rapporteur-on_22.html
• Interface with different stakeholder on women rights
http://www.pvchr.net/2015/03/interface-with-different-stakeholder-on.html


Shirin Shabana Khan is professional socialworkers, graduated and post graduated in social work. She joined Peoples’ Vigilancecommittee on Human Rights (PVCHR)/Jan Mitra Nyas (JMN) in 2007 during the time when organization was transforming from activist to professional organization. She committed her life for the social cause after coming in close connection with the problem faced by the marginalized section in the society. Now she is program Director of the organization and leading the initiative “Healing and Empowering marginalized communities in India” with specific focus on creating torture free model villages.

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Shirin Shabana Khan

Social Workers/Philosopher

Uttar Pradesh ,  INDIA

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