When Homes Are Torture Chambers

(Vimochana’s Work with Victims of Domestic Violence).

Linked with Madhu Kishwar – India, with Vimochana, and with Donna Fernandes – India.

Published on the website of INDIA TOGETHER (October 1999).

Many of those who have worked over a period of time providing legal, emotional or other help to women in distress, especially for women who are victims of domestic violence, quickly burn out because attempting to rebuilding broken or severely damaged lives is very difficult and often heart breaking, especially in a country like ours where the police and courts provide very little relief. Often, these government agencies even add to the injustice by protecting those committing atrocities. However, there are some organisations like Vimochana of Bangalore who are able to sustain their commitment to bringing justice for women despite all the setbacks they face, not just from external forces but even from the women victims themselves who they try to help.

I conducted this interview with Celine Suguna of Vimochana a few months ago to provide our readers a glimpse into the very difficult and complex task of helping women in distress.

Vimochana’s experience in Bangalore also confirms Manushi’s experience in Delhi that, as part of complex domestic disputes, a few women are beginning to misuse against innocent men many of the laws enacted (especially the provisions of section 498) to protect women victims of domestic violence.

This is an early warning for the women’s movement which if ignored is likely to produce a severe backlash.

Several of our readers are involved in work similar to Vimochana’s. We invite them to share their experiences and provide us additional insights into the challenges we face and how we can revise our strategies in order to be more effective in combating domestic violence. Madhu Kishwar. (full text).

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