Together against anti-women violence

IEDS works in the region of Bangalore for a non-violent society and for the empowerment of women. The collective offers counselling for women affected by violence, in which husbands and families are also involved. SIEDS conducts workshops with women on the topic of violence. Women are strengthened and empowered to defend themselves against the various forms of violence at home and in society. SIEDS brings together members of the population, various social organisations and the authorities and involves them in the discussion on violence and equality.

Together against anti-women violence

SIEDS works in the region of Bangalore for a non-violent society and for the empowerment of women. The collective offers counselling for women affected by violence, in which husbands and families are also involved. SIEDS conducts workshops with women on the topic of violence. Women are strengthened and empowered to defend themselves against the various forms of violence at home and in society. SIEDS brings together members of the population, various social organisations and the authorities and involves them in the discussion on violence and equality. This is how the change towards equal rights for women at the social, official and legal levels may be effected. Photos EcoSolidar

Photo report about the project in India

The SIEDS office is always busy. The women and men who work here are very active and work with a lot of energy and commitment for the women affected by violence in Bangalore. They work together with women concerned and their families, lawyers and the authorities.

Shanta Bai is one of the women who have been working for SIEDS for a long time. She has a lot of experience and a large network in her communities. Thanks to her tireless efforts SIEDS has been able to achieve a lot.

Shanta conducts workshops, speaks to school classes and students, advises women affected by violence and does public relations work. She is often on the road and in conversation with everyone involved.

Rekha came into contact with SIEDS three years ago when she herself lived in miserable circumstances and in a relationship full of violence.

A lot has changed since then: She has left her violent husband and now passes on her experiences to women in similar situations as a consultant at SIEDS.

Mamatha Yajamman’s motivation for her commitment also derives from personal experiences with domestic violence. She has been advocating for women’s rights with SIEDS since 1996.

In her daily work, Mamatha looks after individual women who experience violence. She also conducts public relations work, organises sensitisation campaigns and speaks publicly about her work.

At universities and schools, young women and men discuss human trafficking and the violence among young people caused by poverty together with SIEDS. These issues were taken up under the influence of younger SIEDS team members.

The fact that young women can express themselves so decidedly and that men listen to them is not at all self-evident. In many schools, boys and girls do not talk to each other and it takes a while for them to get used to this change.

Whenever possible, SIEDS involves authorities such as the police in its work. On such occasions, police officers also have to face the accusation that the police often fail to respond to calls for help from women. Taking part in a public discussion on the subject of violence against women, they are forced to take a stand.

To be present in public is very important for the work of SIEDS. If, as here, the press shows interest, the topic is heard and the work of SIEDS is seen and noted by many people. A public statement by the police in front of the press increases the pressure on the state authorities to take a clear position and to effect changes.

Empowerment of Women experiencing Violence

SIEDS strengthens the position of women in Bangalore and fights domestic violence. Every year 300 women seek advice in the Crisis Intervention Centre and 500 burn victims are documented and assisted in the burn unit of Victoria Hospital. In the suburbs of Bangalore more than 250 women are supported in self-aid groups. In the women’s shelter in Kolar up to 30 women and their children find temporary protection.

Empowerment of Women experiencing Violence

SIEDS strengthens the position of women in Bangalore and fights domestic violence. Every year 300 women seek advice in the Crisis Intervention Centre and 500 burn victims are documented and assisted in the burn unit of Victoria Hospital. In the suburbs of Bangalore more than 250 women are supported in self-aid groups. In the women’s shelter in Kolar up to 30 women and their children find temporary protection. Furthermore, SIEDS regularly organises courses on topics like empowerment of women, violence connected with dowries and selective abortion of female foetuses in 25 districts.  

Photos Christian Jaeggi

Photo report about the project in India

SIEDS works in Bangalore, a city of 8 million people, a city of contrasts, rapid economic growth, a booming IT industry and a permanent increase of social inequality.

A marriage hall in Bangalore. Because of the rapid economic growth the pressure on women to bring a large dowry into the marriage is growing especially in the cities. The men also suffer from this increase of the pressure.

A poor dowry, a wedding that doesn’t meet the high expectations, excessive consumption of alcohol, high social pressure, frustration, all this can lead to physical and psychological violence against women. Acts of violence like intentional burnings are mostly explained as domestic accidents.

A SIEDS counsellor is pointing out possible strategies to escape the cycle of violence. In the Crisis Intervention Centre counsellors offer support to women affected by violence and encourage them to work out suitable solutions for their problems – if possible in interaction with their families.

Members of SIEDS make interventions in families and communities encouraging women to be active agents. If necessary, SIEDS negotiates with the responsible authorities.

The students are listening attentively to every word of Mamtha, a member of SIEDS. Violence must not be prevented only in the short term. Gender roles have to be reconsidered, discussed and negotiated from an early age. SIEDS organises awareness campaigns in schools, neighbourhoods and with public authorities.