ACCORDING to the United Nations, one in three women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime – most frequently by an intimate partner. The incidences of violence against women reached a new level in India during Covid-19. For instance, the number of domestic violence complaints received by the National Commission for Women rose sharply from 2,960 in 2019 to 5,297 in 2020, when most people were confined to their homes during the lockdowns.
In fact, in 2020, between March 25 and May 31, 1,477 complaints of domestic violence were made by women. This short period recorded more complaints than those received between March and May in the previous 10 years.
Women’s rights organisations and NGOs helping victims of domestic and sexual violence are often the first responders during moments of crisis.
As the United Nations celebrates International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, we profile 10 NGOs in India that are helping women fight back.
The idea behind Snehalaya is to be the ‘house of love’ and care for women in distress. And that has been achieved to a great extent. Founded in 1989 by Girish Kulkarni, Snehalaya’s intent is to ensure that women are protected against domestic violence and sexual abuse, discrimination and inequality.
From raising awareness on violence against women to empowering them to fight back and offering rehabilitation, Snehalaya does a lot of work. It also provides education to the children of underprivileged women and ensures a decent level of healthcare as well.
Under Snehalaya’s Snehadhar (women’s shelter) project, the organisation has established emergency safe houses for women experiencing domestic violence and their children. You can help Snehalaya expand its activities and aid women suffering from domestic and sexual violence by donating here.
The organisation was started in 1991 to provide ‘access to justice for all women’. Headed by renowned advocate Flavia Agnes, this all-woman team comprising lawyers and social activists provides socio-legal support to victims of sexual and domestic abuse.
Besides protecting women’s rights through legal counselling and representation, Majlis Manch creates awareness about laws and legal avenues available to victims of violence against women. The organisation also fights against discriminatory laws that are considered anti-women.
Through its programme ‘Rahat,’ Majlis provides socio-legal support for domestic violence and sexual abuse victims. You can support Majlis by making a donation here.
Baale Mane, in Kannada means ‘Girls’ Home’. It shelters 60 girls and young women who have suffered hardships in life that include child labour, domestic violence, street dwelling, and abandonment.
Founded by the Paraspara Trust in 2001, the Bangalore-based organisation aims to provide girls from disadvantaged backgrounds long-term support in an environment that resembles a home, not a hostel. The objective of the home is to give each young girl a fulfilling and happy environment and ensure that they achieve their potential in life.
You can help The Baale Mane uplift the lives of more girls and young women by donating here.
Started in 1992 in Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh, Aarti for Girls acts as an orphanage for abandoned and destitute girls who have suffered various forms of violence.
Founded by Sandhya Puchalapalli, a teacher in the city, Aarti provides girls who are abandoned or victims of violence with shelter, education and opportunities to succeed in life.
Besides the home for girls, Aarti for Girls has trained over 30,000 women in entrepreneurial and leadership skills and reached 400,000 women on their rights. Donate here and help Aarti’s efforts.
Conceived in 2012, the Hyderabad-based NGO provides grassroots services to victims of domestic violence and their families. The aim is to bring an end to domestic violence by harnessing the power of local women. My Choices educates at-risk women and girls, families and communities, and provides a supportive environment for victims of violence against women.
It tackles the issue of domestic violence through its ‘Operation PeaceMaker’ and child trafficking through ‘Operation Red Alert.’ The organisation’s ‘PeaceMakers’ and counsellors have helped over 8,000 families resolve domestic abuse cases. You can help My Choices Foundation by donating here.
Since 2008, Prajnya has been working to create awareness around the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence against women. The Prajnya Trust facilitates discussions among family and friends’ groups, residential societies and offices around this issue to spread awareness. It also conducts workshops for college students and other youth on gender sensitisation and violence.
Prajnya believes that sharing and learning about legal recourse, service providers and bystander intervention, and thinking critically about attitudes and assumptions are some of the ways to end the epidemic of violence against women. You can help Prajnya reach more people and educate them by donating here.
Founded in 2001 in Chennai, PCVC creates and extends support services for women and queer individuals affected by domestic and interpersonal violence.
PCVC designs and offers a comprehensive set of services for women who are in situations of violence, discrimination and abuse.
These services include psychosocial counselling, medical and health-related services, legal support through referrals, skill-building, education support to women’s children and linking with relevant employment opportunities. It aims to bring a shift in the culture and practice of violence against women in any form. You can support PCVC by donating here.
Women face multiple disadvantages due to poverty, gender discrimination, violence and lack of access to higher education. Vipla Foundation’s interventions aim at preventing gender-based violence by empowering women through skills-based programmes, allowing them to break the cycle of poverty and discrimination.
The programmes include employability skills training, linking them to jobs, and other income-generating options like enterprise development, which in turn leads to financial independence and greater control over their own lives. You can help Vipla reach more and more vulnerable women and empower them by donating here.
The main aim of Sakhya Women’s Guidance Cell is to promote gender equality and gender justice through women empowerment. Sakhya believes that an integrated approach of women’s empowerment is vital to sustainable development and realising human rights for all.
Sakhya does this through gender sensitisation training, community awareness, street plays, youth awareness programmes, training of trainers, community leaders, health workers. The organisation offers victims of sexual abuse case counselling, referrals, legal aid, shelter, rehabilitation and accompany them to hospitals and legal institutes.
You can help in putting an end to violence against women by donating here.
Established in 2010 in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Sayodhya runs a short stay home for women/young girls in distress and provides emergency response through its 24-hour telephone helpline. In critical cases, they help women get legal justice by taking them to women protection cells where they explain the process and help women file cases.
Sayodhya believes that each survivor of domestic violence has the right to a safe, secure home and the capability to self-determine their violence-free future. You can donate to Sayodhya by clicking here.
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Kumara has been a professional journalist for over 15 years with stints in The Telegraph and Reader’s Digest. He grew up hating maths and physics. He is a post-graduate in history. Kumara believes that cricket and Seinfeld have answers to most questions that life throws at you.