a publication on violence against women

Auraton ke Khilaf Hinsa: Dhrishtikon aur Rannitiyan

published by 'KRITI: a development research, praxis and communication team', New Delhi.
ISBN 978-81-904182-0-1 (Hindi edition, 2007)

This publication presents a comprehensive conceptual framework within which to understand gender-based violence, especially physical violence. It also suggests strategies that can be used by NGO fieldworkers/ activists to prevent and eliminate this form of violence at home, at workplaces, on the streets and society in general. Printed first in English in 2004, with support from Oxfam GB, several people and groups have been demanding other language editions. This Hindi edition is in response to these requests from grassroots groups and has been supported by SDC. It would serve as a useful resource for activists and workers at the field level.

Based on exhaustive research over two years, including detailed interviews with individuals, communities and institutions, spread over eight states of India, the book interrogates the ways in which women themselves, local communities, NGOs and institutions of the State (police, health centres, educational institutes) and community institutions (panchayats, youth groups, men and women's groups, SHGs), understand and respond to violence against women. The book argues that violence has usually been understood only in its manifest forms, as an `act’ (its more extreme forms like murder, severe physical abuse and rape) and not as a `process’. This has led to a `normalising’ of many other forms of violence that women face daily. This perception, in turn, determines the kind of interventions that are made by different institutions, some of which are usually reactive to a 'case' and not responsive to the context, continuity and consequence of the act.

It is argued in the book, that, while immediate relief to women facing violence in the form of shelters, legal aid and counselling are crucial interventions, a more proactive approach is required to prevent violence from happening in the first place. This essentially implies that gendered attitudes, behaviours and practices of society are challenged not only by the victims and perpetrators of violence but also the passive spectators to violence. It shows that, above all else the community must have a stake in preventing this violence. The book outlines strategies of mobilization, networking and advocacy to effect such changes around violence against women, but the strategy framework can also serve as a guide for interventions across sectors.

The book also contains some important information, such as recent statistics on violence against women; a select list of organizations working on this issue across India; summary of existing laws for the protection of women against violence, including the Domestic Violence Act, 2005; and some myths/ facts about issues of violence that could be very useful for fieldworkers/ activists/ students. An annexure of questionnaires and information on the methodology used could benefit researchers working on the issue.

The book is co-authored by Aanchal Kapur, Sanjay Muttoo and Suman Bisht.

Requested Contribution: Rs.100.00 postage extra on actuals (order at 011-26027845/ space.kriti@gmail.com)