The problem of violence against women in India is complex and systemic. It needs to be addressed at various levels. Unfortunately, there is a culture of impunity within the Indian system, where more often than not, perpetrators of violence go unpunished. The Maitri Network seeks to confront these challenges in a holistic and exhaustive manner across various geographies and stakeholders. Over the years, 2500 different stakeholders have been sensitized through various workshops and training programs. Through these workshops:
  • Stakeholders like police, lawyers, civil society organizations, village panchayats and other government departments have been sensitised to raise their awareness about the severity of the issue of violence against women and children, existing laws for their protection and role and responsibilities of various stakeholders.
  • Workshops have been organized on issues of child marriage, sexual harassment of women at the workplace, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual violence etc.
  • These workshops have lead to collaborations being established at various levels to effectively reduce violence against women and children.
Many women do not report incidences of violence due to fear of retaliation and shame in society. The discriminatory system of society towards women creates barriers to access justice. Also due to poor availability of information women do not access courts or legal services. Through this program, following activities are undertaken :
  • Regular home visits are conducted by fellows/social workers. Women who are victims of violence are identified and referred to support services where they get medical help, psychological counselling, legal advice and support in registering their cases with police.
  • After assessing the severity of the situation, fellows/ social workers offer women guidance on how to proceed. They also try reaching out to the men involved in order to find a peaceful resolution to the root issue. In some instances, where the husband is in agreement, the couple is referred for counselling.
  • Maitri Network also supports women in availing legal aid through District and State Legal Aid Services (DLSA) and referring them to One Stop Centres (OSC). Our fellows/ social workers accompany women to police, protection officers, OSC, lawyers and help them in registering cases and also support women by regular follow up and support them in getting justice.
Campaign and Advocacy is an important activity under awareness building and information dissemination. Each year all the members of the network participate in the “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence”. Network partners after consulting with community leaders, survivors, CSOs and government officials mutually decide on a common theme. Through this campaign :
  • Organizations, volunteers and activists take to the streets, and undertake a series of outreach and awareness activities, targeting men and women, boys and girls, government officials and the police.
  • Around 20,000 people are reached each year.
  • Memorandums and letters are submitted to government officials and departments for advocating change.
We believe that gender equality cannot be achieved without the involvement of men and boys in working towards it. A significant change in social behavior and attitudes of men and boys is necessary to eliminate gender discrimination.
We acknowledge them as equal partners in the movement towards gender justice and equality and actively engage them in our programs by:
  • Organizing sensitization workshops with men and boys, including community leaders that are carried out at the village level through street theatre, posters and other community events where discussions are held on issues of gender, violence against women and the role of men and boys in creating safe spaces.
  • Building the capacity of men and boys through trainings, campaigns and rallies to become volunteers and understand their role in prevention of violence against women.
  • Encouraging them to become advocates of gender equality in their homes and in their communities.
With focus on reducing violence in communities, our partner organizations work closely with women and men in communities. Women support groups, survivor forums or Self Help Groups are formed in communities. These groups provide support to women and girls facing violence, focus on providing knowledge on legislation and schemes, work closely with local stakeholders like panchayat members, police, anganwadi and ASHA workers . Through these community programs:
  • Over 23,775 women have been provided with psycho, socio, legal counselling.
  • Monthly meetings are held where fellows/ social workers discuss various issues related to the communities such as child marriages, domestic violence and girls education.
  • Communities have been successful in stopping child marriages, preventing school drop out of girls and protecting women from violence at home and in communities.