Dilaasa is the first hospital based crisis centre in India that provides psycho-social and legal support to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Statistics have indicated an increase of women facing violence during COVID lockdown phase thus creating awareness on VAW stands essential. Dilaasa team have been working tirelessly during lockdown phase to assist women facing violence. Teams across 13 public hospitals in Mumbai ran an awareness campaign on Violence Against Women from 25th November to 10th December, 2020.
Dilaasa teams conducted range of activities as part of the campaign;
These activates reiterated right of every woman and child to a violence free life and highlighting role of health care providers in recognizing and stopping violence against women. The street play in particular focused on intergenerational impact of domestic violence.
Despite challenges of following COVID norms, Dilaasa teams with support from Community Development Officer were able to carry out awareness campaign at different locations reaching out to people that mattered.
Places and people were the campaign landed;
The awareness campaign led to women inquire about Dilaasa and its services. Women shared their experiences of violence with Dilaasa teams after the campaign. People also shared violence faced by their family members and younger children. A woman approached Dilaasa and shared violence faced by her daughter from husband and in-laws. In-laws expected survivor to earn as the husband was unemployed. Survivor starting earning but lost job as she was not keeping well. As a result, in-laws and her husband abandoned her. Survivor’s mother wanted her daughter to file a divorce, and wanted to visit Dilaasa for guidance. Another woman shared violence from her son demanding money. The campaign resulted in many women and people reaching out to Dilaasa for survivors facing violence.
A woman shared that her teenaged daughter had been kidnapped by a man from the community. She had registered a complaint with the police. She wanted help to understand the progress of the case.
Another woman shared that her daughter dropped out of education to marry a man she loved. The mother did not approve the relationship as the man was unemployed. After marriage the daughter came to know that the man had given false information about his education, income, and employment. She continued in the marital family despite physical, emotional, and financial violence. The man left the survivor to her mother’s place at a time when she was unwell and refused to take her responsibility. The daughter decided to register a case under PWDVA and seek divorce, her mother wanted Dilaasa’s guidance on the same.
A Community Health Volunteer at a health post could not hold her tears back after the counsellor shared information about Dilaasa and its role in supporting women facing violence. After the orientation she came to Dilaasa to seek help for herself.
Awareness campaign suggested a need of wider distribution of information about Dilaasa and its services for survivors of violence against women. The campaign was highly appreciated by health care providers and encouraged to conduct more awareness drives in future.