Book: From Thought to Action - Building Strategies on Violence Against Women

From Thought to Action: Building Strategies on Violence Against Women

ISBN-13 978-81-904182-1-8 (English edition, 2004)

Aurato ke Khilaf Hinsa: Dhrishtikon aur Rannitiyan
ISBN-13 978-81-904182-0-1 (Hindi edition, 2007)

This publication presents a comprehensive conceptual framework within which to understand gender-based violence, especially physical violence. The content suggests strategies that can be used by development (or NGO) fieldworkers/ activists to prevent and eliminate this form of violence at home, at workplaces, on the streets and society in general.

A publication that is written in a format which is meant to be long lasting and utilitarian, beyond the action research process, its a resource that anyone interested in, working on or even facing violence should read.

Based on exhaustive research over two years, 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.

The book also contains some important information on organizations and institutions working in this area, existing laws (including the recent Domestic Violence Act) on the issues and some myths/ facts about issues
of violence that would 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 published by KRITI: a development research, praxis and communication team, New Delhi. Printed first in English, the book is now also available in Hindi.