Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Fellow blogger Anjali’s post ‘The transition' put me on this track. This is something that has to be dealt with - by all of us.
Domestic violence.

Often have the women who help me at home complained of the menfolk in their families beating up either themselves, or their daughters or their sisters. They take it with resignation, while I advise them to protest, or make a complaint at the nearest police station.

All to no avail. While some men think it is their birthright to slap their womenfolk around, the victimised women tend to say that it is a family matter, and outsiders should not interfere.

Sons, who grow up watching their mothers subjected to violence and sympathizing with them, unfortunately end up like their fathers, thinking it is their heritage to hammer women. And so it continues….

Apparently this is prevalent in all layers of society.

It may not be possible for us to physically be present and prevent such abuse. But we can at least raise the level of awareness about this problem. Talk to the men, wherever possible - make them understand their responsibility to care for their women; tough I know, but at least an effort would have been made. Talk to the women, tell them they don’t have to suffer this indignity, and ask for help. We can put them in touch with organisations that help women in such situations, or other social services.

When I saw this in my mailbox today, it was too much of a coincidence for me to pass over. It is the publicity material for an awareness programme about domestic violence. Actor Boman Irani is the Brand Ambassador for the programme called “Bell Bajao” (Ring The Bell).

This video has been created by Ogilvy & Mather,
The project was created by ”Breakthrough” in collaboration with the Indian Ministry of Women and Child Development and UNIFEM.

Watch the video here:


Chandramouli S said...

Said true, ma'am. It's a shame for me that almost a majority of men are like that. I've always included this awareness during our casual conversations as to how a responsible husband should be and I hope they really did make an impact on them and they don't make a negative headlines in future. One such similar movie that I insist that all men watch is PROVOKED - the story about the abused woman in UK.

Swarna said...

That message is powerful, and I feel it has become such a routine stuff in Indian lives that most of us are (make ourselves?) insensitive when it comes to a neighbouhood happening.
I think there must be instances of the sons taking over from fathers...

flowergirl said...

Its a great campaign - have seen it while watching some cricket match.

Sunita said...

Excellent post, Raji! I love this series of ads. The others in this series are equally powerful. I hope it helps in some way at least. As a society we have increasingly become used to turning the deaf ear and not wished to become involved in any way.

Sandra Ree said...

I would hate to think what would happen to any man that would have the misfortune to lay a hand on myself or my daughter. I would also "ring that bell" if I suspected this was going on with any friend or neighbor. Honest, powerful post, Raji. How wonderful to visit you again. :)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Raji :)

This is a very burning issue not only in India but all over the world.

It is important to educate both men and women on this evil called domestic violence.

I think illiteracy, excessive drinking, dowry etc. are contributing factors for domestic violence.

Unless widespread,vigorous campaign on the lines of AIDS awareness is undertaken, domestic violence will not be eradicated.

We have to introduce this subject in the school level and children should be taught about this evil.

I hope some concerted efforts will be made in this direction.

Many thanks for this very significant and burning issue which should be stamped out for our society.

Best wishes :)

Devika said...

Domestic violence is a real and sad truth..

Advanced countries has comprehensive legislation for domestic ciolence..But does that stop it??

In India, I know it happening among the most educated of couples...

On a lighter note , in my house, I am the violent one often...Just for avoid monotony. And he likes it :)

But I have to follow his strict orders...and I do it he is seldom violent :)


Devika said...

I was reading Joseph's comment...

I doubt teaching of mutual respect and values will be effective if taken at academic level..

Charity begins at home, they say...

Tolerance, home can lead children to understand the values in a family system :)

The other evil -- drinking etc..contribute...But its all individual choices...


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Raji :)

One more thought came to my mind regarding eliminating domestic violence.


Best wishes :)

Soul Searcher said...

Nice to see someone raising awareness about issues. Domestic violence is a real issue even in modern Indian families thought the manifestation is a more subtle than beating.

The attached campaign video is good too.


Thanks you all for your supportive messages. This is one routine in our lives that we can do without.
Filmmakers too should be discouraged from showing people slapping one another at the drop of a hat.

Chandramouli: Yes, I read about Provoked - what a strong woman she became.

Swarna, sons must be taught to value women.

Flowergirl, Sunita, yes that is why I wanted to share it.

Sandra, thanks you . I am hapy to see you here.

Joseph "I think illiteracy, excessive drinking, dowry etc. are contributing factors for domestic violence" _ I agree wholeheartedly. But is it practicable to get that certificate? :)

Devika, you are the violent one? Domestic violence on the other foot, eh?

Soul searcher, what I have done is not enough. Blogs are read by only the literate - the message has to reach the masses, that is why these video campaigns are so essential.

Anonymous said...

Abuse happens at many levels and physical abuse is just its most primitive manifestation.
While one can feel good about raising awareness and all, what we need to ask ourselves is
1) Would we stand up and confront the abuser for our mothers, sisters, daughters, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law and so on? Or would we just turn a blind eye and say nothing so as to not interfere in a domestic/personal/family matter?
2) It is easy to suggest to the domestic help that they should go to the police station. But if there was a need for a witness, would we be willing to go and be there for the person? If they were thrown out of their homes, would we give them a place to stay even for a few days?
3)Do we really believe that the police in India will do something about this, especially when the person is a poor domestic worker?

We give good advice but that is all -- the words have to change to action to facilitate any improvement in our society/world. We as women must react in a positive way to support the abused women and confront the abuser. Until that happens this is all just talk and amounts to nothing.


Anonymous, thank you for the insightful comments. You are so right - we are helpless. But atleast we can make these small efforts, and maybe some decades later, there will be a kind of awakening.

I have stepped in twice when I have heard the wife screaming in agony at the abuse at her husband's hands.(And this was not some poor family, but an educated middle class one) The first time, I was shouted at and asked to mind my own business. It was terrible, but at least it stopped him from hitting her. The second time I called from outside loud and long enough for him to be distracted.

But as you say, however much I wanted to, I could not do much more.

Kat said...

Raji, you have been brave and have taken an effort. I salute you.

Suja Sugathan said...

This is a burning issue and it is shameful for the society to leave this social evil unattended. Illiteracy, excessive drinking, dowry, poverty have all contributed to this evil.
I had once come across a shocking report conducted in my University. A survey conducted among the employees( from the highest paid to the lowest)reveals that more than 60% of the women have been victims of domestic violence.

Anonymous said...

Hey Raji,

I remember we - a small group of us in a friend's flat - were alarmed at the domestic abuse screams at a neighbouring flat. I am so proud that we all - the entire group of ?7-8 of us - rang the doorbell.

The woman's screams stopped; the man came to the door and looked very "decent" and neighbourly. We couldn't enter the flat.

No more screams that day, but I hear there were screams later on...

And yes, this was educated middle class blah blah blah

I do this: when I see a husband shouting at his wife ( upper class living rooms) and ordering her to shut up as HE wants ME to hear his pea-brained speeches, I

Leave the room.

The man is often stunned and starts hating ( yes, hating) me from then on but there is a limit to my patience. I cannot stand to see the verbal abuse...and I'm talking sophisticated households here.

Makes for a lonelier life for me - less homes to go to! - but I prefer my company to these sad little male ******