Recognising VAW as a health issue: A puppet show depicting violence against women and what can Health Providers do in addressing it.
At DILAASA we celebrated the International Women’s Day i.e. 8th March wishing to make every day as amazing and respectful for the women as this one. The puppets showed, how inequality is perpetrated in the daily lives of women and how it can be mitigated and how that will help them prosper.
Scene one opens with two puppets depicting a married couple where the husband is in power and runs the home whereas the woman is a homemaker. The husband comes back from work and notices that the wife had made ladyfinger for the dinner, he throws away the food. He criticizes her for sitting at home all day and watching TV, there is no recognition of the fact that “housewives” spend several hours taking care of all the house work, old, sick and children and this is not given the same weightage as paid work.
Second scene opens with, a working mother who drops her young daughter at home and the father’s friend pays a visit. Uncle tricks her into letting him into the house, and then tricks the child in to playing games. He uses this as a bait to sexually abuse the young girl and threatens her with dire consequences for her mother even death if she reveals about the game. Upon the mother’s return she finds her daughter very quiet. With great difficulty the mother helps the child open up and disclose about abuse
The third scene brings forth sexual harassment at work place. A young woman is a new employee. Her employer calls her on different occasions, praises her work in the initial stages and depicts a friendly nature. Soon he starts calling her to his cabin on any pretext and the girl starts to feel uncomfortable. When she rejects his advances he threatens to throw her out of her job.
These three narratives connect to the fact that violence has different forms but it impacts the health of survivors. This invariably brings women to a health system. But when health system is not sensitive to the issue of VAW they may also not recognise abuse and in fact blame women for violence. The puppets demonstrated simple ways in which basic messages to women can be provided without it taking much time. These puppets communicated simple yet powerful messages such as, violence is not your fault, we believe you and we have a Dilaasa centre they can provide support to you can enable women to deal with a violent situation.
The show ended with a question answer round where the nurses narrated their anecdotes of recognising health effects of violence and referring women to Dilaasa. About 100 people, Health care providers, support staff, patients and their families formed the audience to the show.