Friday, 25th November was the UN International Day to end Violence Against Women.
Here, Julie our volunteer from France tells us about her experience.
I think the International Day to End Violence against Women was a great opportunity to remind our women and girls about the importance of being well treated, and that any kind of violence against them is unacceptable.
"Some girls thought that in some situations, violence can be legitimate"
In the morning, I was at Jodhpur Empowerment Centre, one of the main centres of the Trust. We discussed the different ways to use violence (physical and mental) and how we can fight against those behaviours. However, some girls thought that in some situations, violence can be legitimate, so we had to explain that violence should almost never be the answer to any situation, but only in cases of emergencies such as self-defence.
After those first impressions about violence, we asked each woman/girl to draw something about ending violence in orange, as it is the symbolic colour of this day. When everyone finished their drawing, we joined them together to create a big poster, as a message “We are united to end violence against women”. Most of the drawings were hands, as a symbol to say “stop” to violence.
In the afternoon, I went to Sisters for Sisters, an other centre with mostly married women. After a big discussion about what is violence, what types of violence they can face in their daily lives and how to fight against it, we asked each women to write on an orange balloon what specific kind of violence they wanted to end. They had different ideas such as end dowry for girls, end mental pressure from in-laws, end child marriage, end harassment …
We went on the roof and everybody launched their balloons at the same time, as a symbol to get rid of all those forms of violence in their lives. Afterwards, we took some orange powder and asked some men in the street to take pictures with them, so that men and women together said NO to violence, with the orange powder on the face of the woman as a symbol of a slap in her face to point at domestic violence. At the end, we all threw the orange powder in the air.
There were great moments in both centres, where I could feel the commitment of those women to fight to make their lives better and not just suffer from what others impose on them. I was really proud that they were able to express what they really feel, because during my time here I have learnt that expressing feelings is not easy for women here in India.Yet again the women showed me how wonderful and full of energy they are, and I am convinced and hope that they will see soon how powerful they are.
To learn more about Sambhali's action during the #16daysofactivism to End Violence Against Women, follow us on Instagram and Facebook!
Sambhali Trust is a non-profit organization based in Jodhpur, whose focus is the development and empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan.
Since 2007, Sambhali Trust is working to improve the lives of women in Jodhpur through education. English, Hindi, Mathematics and vocational training such as embroidery and sewing classes are given daily in eight different empowerment centres throughout Jodhpur.