Women to Break the Silence against Violence
Women have been in the forefront of various struggles across the country and the world. It is the women who have brought in various changes in the society; both socially as well as politically. It is the women’s struggles that have brought in changes in the policy struggles.
Yet the recognition and acknowledgement of women in society and political sphere is very low. Further women are consistently subject to various types of violence including physical, mental, psychological, economic, political, cultural, religious and sexual. This was the message of the State level Women’s Convention organised at Raipur by Oxfam India and Chhattisgarh Mahila Adhikar Manch on November 25. The theme of these 16 days of activism is “Lets Break the Silence”.
Around 1000 Women from eight districts shared their voices with the international fraternity against violence against women. On this occasion the key speakers were Durga Jha, Convenor of Chhattisgarh Mahila Adhikar Manch; Anand Shukla, Regional Manager Oxfam; Anu Verma, Programme Officer, Oxfam; Indu Netam ,President, Adivasi Samata Manch; Lata Usendi, Chairperson, State Women’s Commission; Shashi Sail, Treasurer, National Alliance of Women; Sofia Khan, Lawyer and Women Activist, Dinesh Mishra, Chhattisgarh Andhshradha Unmulan Samiti; Sulakshna Nandi, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and Sita Verma, Chhattisgarh Mahila Adhikar Manch. Chandrika Koshal presented a reverberating Pandwani – a traditional art form on the theme.
The Convention began with a loud announcement by Durga, ‘let’s break the silence’. Anand Shukla welcomed the participants, while Anu Verma gave a background of the two week celebration.
Indu Netam gave a loud call to follow the traditional Adivasi culture where egalitarianism existed among men and women but also put a strong challenge to the current rush under the influence of Hinduism. She said Hinduism is changing everything in our society very rapidly and the idea of discrimination is fast permeating. The questions like single mother, remarriage of women, social divorce and remarriage were not a problem at all among the Adivasis. Now it is not the same. The question of freedom, dignity and mutuality was much higher among Adivasis which is not turned apart, added Indu.
Lata Usendi said violence is a small word but it has a large implication. We all have to come together to end violence against women. We need to know the various laws of which there is less information and therefore education for women is important.
Pointing out the challenges Shashi Sail said that, we live in a psychology and value chain of patriarchy. Though we claim to be living in a democracy, we have states like Kashmir, North-East, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat which is a semi-militarised state. Irom Sharmila and Soni Sori are champions against such fights. Militarisation and semi militarisation is a methods to suppress people’s voice. She also pointed on capitalism as standing on profit-generation mechanism and it is broadly against people and particularly against women. If we continue to live in this system, violence against women would only multiply, continued Shashi. She gave a call to change the system for women to have freedom from all forms of violence.
Sharing her thoughts Sofia said that we all have to resolve that ‘no more violence’. We need to inculcate a habit of questioning. Dinesh Mishra said that women need to be aware and resist violence under the pretext of superstitions. Sulakshna said that the violence against women has a direct linkage with the health status of women. The cases of anemia and other lower health indicators of women are also examples of violence against women. Sita mentioned about the strength of women in organised struggles like the struggle for better compensation of land acquisition for the new capital in Raipur.
The Convention resolved to fight against all forms of violence against women. It also announced a series of programmes across the state till December 10, 2014. Finally the women walked as a rally and made a human chain for non-violence womanhood.