Violence against women is a global problem, with its heart in fundamental gender inequality. It takes many forms, happens all across the world, and is not restricted by social class, caste or education level. From conception to death, women in India may face many types of gender-based violence, including:
- Rape—Rape is one of the most direct violations of a woman’s right to her own body, her personal autonomy, and, most importantly, her life. Sadly, is also one of the most underreported crimes in India, as most perpetrators of the violence are known to the victims and there is an immense cultural value placed on the ‘purity’ of women and family honor.
- Domestic violence, physical and verbal abuse— 37% of Indian women report experiencing some form of physical violence inside their homes, and these are just the official reported figures. Every year, thousands of incidences of violence go undocumented due to an ingrained belief that women’s happiness, health, and well-being are secondary to that of their husbands.
- Sex-selective abortions —Due to deep cultural preference for males, sex selective abortions and female infanticide are on the rise despite the introduction of the PCPNDT Act 1994 – an attempt by the Indian government to prohibit gender-determining ultrasounds. As a result, Rajasthan suffers one of the worst sex ratios in India
- Dowry deaths—The dowry, while illegal, remains one of India’s most insidious forms of violence and is still practiced as a custom in many parts of the country, including Rajasthan. Dowry laws are rarely enforced, leading to an estimated 8391 dowry-related deaths in 2010 alone.
Vikalp’s Work to End Violence Against Women
Vikalp works holistically to eliminate violence against women. We work with local communities to create awareness and sensitize them on the issues of gender-based violence through campaigns including the We Can Campaign. Within this work, Vikalp also focuses on sensitizing men to the experiences of women and inspiring them to end violence in their families and communities.
Vikalp also works to empower the survivors of gender-based violence. We operate a Counseling and Protection Center in Udaipur where women can learn about their legal rights, register complaints, and receive counseling, legal advice, child care stations and temporary housing. Vikalp works with local women’s groups to ensure that all women have the self-love and self-respect to stand up to abuse, as well as a network of support standing behind them.
If you, or someone you know, is a victim of violence, please contact Vikalp