Name - Bharti
Village - Jattowala Majri
Children - 2 girls and 2 boys
The story of Bharti, a 40 years old women from village ‘Jattowala Majri’ showcases the personal transformation many women went through after their association with the WSN project and its services. She was a typical example of traditional Indian women before she became a part of the project ten years ago. Her belief, her attitude and her practices reflected that of a traditional women in a patriarchal society. As a mother of two girls and two boys and a wife she believed that women and girls should not cross the line drawn under the traditional gender roles. Girls should only learn how to cook, how to take care of family, children and household works instead of learning employable skills. She believed that its men’s duty to earn money for the family and therefore women should always remain under the limits of household. She thought women should not open her mouth about atrocities they go through inside their homes, before people outside home not matter how brutal forms of violence they suffer at the hands of their male family members, i.e., husbands, brothers and fathers. In accordance with her belief, she went through numerous incidences of different forms of domestic violence. She was mentally harassed, verbally abused on regular basis, beaten on slightest faults inside her house. She never broke the silence and whenever her children questioned about her suffering she only taught them that this is the fate of a women and she was not the only women going through such life.
However, a blow of fresh air loaded with gender equality, women’s rights and awareness about issues associated with domestic violence shook her inner patriarchal belief system when she came in contact with the people associated with WSN project in her village. She attended many trainings focused on issues such as gender equality, women’s rights, women’s health, women centric governmental schemes, etc., conducted under the WSN project. She started realizing that her stand on women’s rights and gender roles was based on false notions that should be challenged effectively at grassroots level. She started attending the village level meetings on regular basis and worked hard to convince other women and men about the darker side of their traditional patriarchal belief system which reduced women and girls to worthless commodities and placed them in the services of gender insensitive men. As a profound communicator, she made many men realize to rethink about their attitude towards women and girls. She convinced many girls and women to think beyond the ‘gender roles’. She improved her knowledge about issues associated with domestic violence, agencies working to mitigate the impact of domestic violence and VAW, e.g., OSC, Nirbhaya cell, 181, etc. She raised the level of awareness among women and girls regarding women centric government schemes in respect of safeguard against domestic violence and VAW as well as regarding their empowerment through education and employment. Trained and sensitized under the WSN project she became an influential advocate of women’s rights. She has created a ripple in her village society which have brought a see change at ground level. Now women in her village do not remain silent in respect of a single incidence of domestic violence and immediately contact MSW, safety net, help spots and DIC to seek instant help.