Symposium on women and abuse at home - LIVE
Society

Symposium on women and abuse at home - LIVE

White Swan Foundation

Welcome

Introduction - Domestic abuse is not always physical - it can be sexual, emotional, financial but the impact is immense - Arathi, White Swan Foundation

Keynote speech by renowned feminist Kamla Bhasin

In the last 3-4 months, 20% increase in violence on women, this means 200 million women have faced violence

Kamla Bhasin

Men, women and transpersons have to fight patriatchy

Kamla Bhasin

For intersectional feminists, the real task is humongous - to get rid of patriarchy, caste, class, race and hetero-normative neoliberal capitalism. #TraumaAndMH

Kamla Bhasin

We need better implementation of laws, better courts, better medical facilities. But I feel, all of these come much after violence has taken place. I feel there is much more work needed in prevention of violence. #TraumaAndMH

Kamla Bhasin

Care and service work at home should be for both men and women. Not because women’s work needs to be lower, but family needs to become partners in it. This is to make boys gentle, loving and caring. - Kamla Bhasin

Narrative by Shruti Sharada, gender-based violence activist

What a lot of people don’t understand about violence is how it completely saps your energy, positivity, and you are responsible for dealing with people talking about violence, dealing with misogyny - this is mentally taxing.

Shruti Sharada

Anytime you are engaging with someone who is a survivor, please understand that it is more about listening and understand the situation. As a survivor, I wont understand another survivor unless I listen.
Shruti Sharada

After that powerful narrative, we now move on to understanding the legal reality, a presentation by Meghana Chandra and Bhumika Sahni from Shakti

Creating a user centric approach for filing complaints - create self help infrastructure in the courts and police stations, with healthcare providers and NGOs being a part of the structure.

We now have panel discussion on 'Why don't women just leave?', moderated by Pavitra Jayaraman of White Swan Foundation.

The longer the women stays in an abusive situation, it becomes more difficult to come out of it - Anuradha, Swayam

Children can have an ambivalent feeling towards the abuser - there is an anger but also that the person abusing is a mother/father and this intimacy can leave them feeling unclear - Anuradha, Swayam

Functional neuro-imaging studies showed that amygdala, hippocampus, pre-frontal cortex gets activated when a person goes through trauma. Behaviorally, we see avoidance – anything that is a remote reminder of trauma – people, situations, we tend to avoid it. – Aishwarya Pethe

Headaches, pains, disturbed sleep, startled response, hyper-vigilance are some cognitive and emotional impact of trauma. – Aishwarya Pethe

There is a lot of blame and shame attached to trauma. But each person experiences differently – some people use substance as coping mechanism, others tend to withdraw from social situations. – Aishwarya Pethe

A lot of why women stay is also connected to gender, motherhood, keeping secrets of family. The effects of abuse do not have an expiry date. Until the cyclical nature of things are understood, justice cannot be served to survivors. - Shruti Sharada

The justice structure lacks empathy, so people working in the structure lack empathy. – Kirthi Jayakumar

Being vigilant as a bystander, stepping up and using your privilege in helping the survivor to access system is necessary – Kirthi Jayakumar

No woman comes and tell us 'I want to send him to jail'. Most say – I want the violence to stop, to live a life of dignity. Can you help us – Anuradha, Swayam

Sec 498A includes mental harm and cruelty, which covers the emotional abuse. It is also there is individual marriage acts, like Hindu Marriage Act.- Kirthi Jayakumar

It comes back to power, control and how you view women, the patriarchal mindset is prevalent. To change this, we have to start from children and teach them to treat everyone equally. Because systems we are dealing with are patriarchal in nature. - Anuradha, Swayam

For women, they understand that it is abuse, but when they don’t getting support from outside world, they question whether it is abuse or not. - Anuradha, Swayam

What can a person do : Each person who experiences abuse and trauma experiences it differently. The first step is to recognize that the abuse is happening to you. Second step is try and speak to someone. Establish safety for yourself – Aishwarya Pethe.

Recovery is a long process and complicated. The abuse doesn’t stop when yiou leave relationship. You start blaming yourself, and there is a lot of stigma attached to it. - Aishwarya Pethe

We now have a panel discussion on role of bystander, moderated by Ranjitha Jeurkar of White Swan Foundation

Most domestic abuse conversation surrounded the legal aspects. But there was a lack of understanding in the mainstream – of the woman’s silence around social shame. But we couldn’t talk to the perpetrator as it is an extremely hard to do so. This came in our research in working with the communities that we need to talk to bystanders. That's how #BellBajao campaign got created.

There is a direct correlation between domestic violence and workplace productivity. But many people do not talk about it at work for fear of stigma. The guide is a result of that on what workplaces can do. Madhumita Venkatraman

What manager/team member can do - Call out resources on domestic violence on online meetings. Show empathy and acknowledge abuse without passing any kind of judgemental statements. Spend time on, helping the person creating a safety plan.Madhumita Venkataraman

What can orgs do to support anybody going through domestic abuse situation? Having taboo-breaking sessions with men and women, this states that the organization is giving voice to the issue. Provide resources like helplines to share with employees, check if existing mental health resources at work to help the employees dealing with the situation...

..Providing reasonable accommodations to the survivors, legal help, and consider providing accommodations in rating employee performance. - Madhumita Venkataraman

The communication needs to work on the language around domestic violence. Looking at technology to intervene in an abusive situation is necessary. Also, focusing on creating alternative narratives in the culture where we are not normalizing violence and language of violence. - Anika Verma

We are wrapping up the symposium with questions from our viewers.

White Swan Foundation
www.whiteswanfoundation.org