Violence against women
In India, women face violence at every stage of their life cycle. Violence against women is enacted in the practices of sex selective abortion, female infanticide, girl-child neglect, physical and sexual abuse, child marriage, eve-teasing, sexual harassment in the work place, domestic violence and dowry death. Although many of these practices are found in many countries, there are a few violence against women issues are particular to the Indian socio-cultural context. The institution of dowry, despite its illegality, is an ever present spectrum. While this remains, the preference for a male child and the embedded ideas of gender inequality will pervade.
EKTA launched the 16 days campaign in 1994 against gender based violence (Nov 25 – Dec 10) and initiated Women in Black demonstration in Madurai. On every third Thursday, a group of women in black dress stood in silence for one hour between 5 – 6 pm in front of Madurai Railway Station. The women held placards to politicise the issue of violence against women. We distributed leaflets and held discussions after the stipulated time. The support from the public, media and the police brought in the much needed public visibility to the issue of violence against women.
The impact of this was seen in the number of women and families coming to EKTA for counselling, support and guidance.