Woman’s Project in Nagpur, India

Background

We started this project because of the high rate of domestic violence that is still happening to women in India. According to the 2002 study, 45 percent of Indian women are slapped, kicked or beaten by their husbands. India also had the highest rate of violence during pregnancy. Of the women reporting violence, 50 percent were kicked, beaten or hit when pregnant. About 74.8 percent of the women who reported violence have attempted to commit suicide.
Domestic violence experts say the problem in India stems from a cultural bias against women who challenge their husband's right to control their behavior. Women who do this -- even by asking for household money or stepping out of the house without their permission -- are seen as punishable. This process leads men to believe their notion of masculinity and manhood is reflected to the degree to which they control their wives.
Equally disturbing is the finding that two of every five women in an abusive relationship in India remain silent about their suffering because of shame and family honor. The studies have also shown that nearly one-third of the Indian women experiencing abuse had thought about running away, but most said they feared leaving their young children and had no place to go. Many activists believe that for intervention strategies to succeed attitudes about violence would have to change and the level of awareness among both men and women about the negative impact of violence had to be raised.
We see Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as a way to help bring change in these circumstances. By starting with this change we want to show India that NVC can make a difference. We would like create an example of change to affect many with this little project.

The Project

We believe that women in domestic violence situations need to be able to express what they are going through and be listened to by other women who they trust can understand what they are going through. We also believe it is important to offer this kind of support to the husbands and other family members who are open and willing to receive it. Our plan is to support local groups of women who could collectively take responsibility for helping change the attitudes of men and women that create violence in families. We want to support and empower women who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, domestic violence to gain personal skill and effectiveness in talking about NVC and providing training in NVC skills and principles. More concretely, our plan includes:

  1. Sending trained NVC staff on a daily basis to go door to door visiting and listening to women
  2. Organizing four weekly meetings in four different quarters of the locality
  3. Offering counselling at office facilities to at least three women or men a day
  4. Providing mediation sessions for families
  5. Giving two-day basics of NVC trainings every month for beneficiaries, and weekly trainings for staff and “Mahila Panchayat” members*
  6. Putting on a large program event every four months to bring the whole community together

* “Mahila Panchayat” is a group of five local women who would be trained in NVC and seen as trusted by women in domestic violence situations to intervene and mediate conflicts. We are planning to form these groups at the first year of our work with the community.

Accomplishments Achieved and Expected

Since we began this project five months ago, our staff has visited 50 women in their homes, and each woman has been visited at least three times. We also met with husbands and other family members of women in immediate need of relief from a distressed situation.

We are also expecting the following specific accomplishments as a result of this project:

  1. 300 women receive empathy at our counseling facility
  2. 100 women receive conflict mediation with their husbands or with members of their in-laws families.
  3. 300 men and 300 women receive basic NVC training.
  4. 100 women receive advanced NVC training so that they can work as facilitators in conflicting family situations or within the locality conflicts.
  5. Mahila Panchayat groups of local trained women are formed in order to have an effective conflict resolving situation for all 300 families in the locality.
  6. Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian women working together to minimize the possibility of communal violence.

We are very hopeful and excited about the social benefit of this project, and about the larger possibilities for people in India to see the power and effectiveness of NVC. If you would like more information about what we are doing or would like to support us in any way, you can contact me at d_kumarjeev [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk (d_kumarjeev [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk).

 

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