Violence Against Women
In its initial days, SUTRA was a developmental service agency. It decided to undertake participatory evaluation of its work in villages and organized series of meetings with women’s groups who were the main end users of their development programmes. In one of these meetings, women raised the issue of domestic violence and demanded that SUTRA should partner with them in dealing it. Women felt that liquor is the cause and they decided to put up a struggle against systematic expansion of liquor stores by the state government for revenue generation. The struggle started from villages, panchayats, up to the district level but it did not receive any response. The women then decided to organize a padayatra (march) to the state capital- Shimla in 1986 to present a memorandum to the Chief Minister. From this point of time, SUTRA’s journey in developing empowered women’s CBOs at village level, took roots. Since then, the struggle is on…
SUTRA has sought to raise awareness about the different forms of violence against women and continues to offer solutions and support to those needing it. There has been extensive efforts to make women aware of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2005 through various community based organisations that SUTRA is associated with.
The term violence against women encompasses any act of violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threat of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
SUTRA has concentrated on the dissemination of information and the upgrading of women’s skills, in order to sensitise women about their self and the society, mainly in the fields of gender and health. This was done through training programmes and awareness camps. In the discussions, women can exchange their experiences in order to understand and uproot the underlying causes. Awareness camps and training programmes are deemed important initiators of the empowerment process.
Furthermore SUTRA has undertaken capacity building of village groups, especially of women and men from weaker sections, adolescent girls and boys. To build up capacities of these groups and collectives, SUTRA regularly organized training programs at its campus in Jagjitnagar and has undertaken continuous follow-up by organising monthly, fortnightly meetings at village and cluster levels.
Illustrations made by participants depicting incidents of violence were collected and SUTRA created flexes with anti-violence slogans written on them. These illustrations were exhibited in many meetings and activities, thereby generating a much wider discussion on the issue.