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Educating Our Community: Taking the First Step Against Gender Abuse

by Sabrin

“Two out of five South Asian women have experienced partner violence, a rate disproportionately higher than that of other minority groups,” – www.dayahouston.org.

Domestic violence is defined as “a pattern of abusive behavior which keeps one partner in a position of power over the other partner through the use of fear, intimidation, and control*,” and is an ongoing problem that continues to plague women from all around the world. South Asian women tend to suffer from problems of gender abuse at a much more severe rate than other races; however, the topic of domestic violence is one that is rarely discussed in the South Asian community.

The problem stems from the fact that many of us do not realize how vast the effects of abuse can be and how instances of domestic violence have a grave impact on many other problems in our community. Unfortunately domestic violence is not an issue of the past and is not limited to just rural and economically disadvantaged women in South Asian countries. More and more we hear about incidents of violence committed against highly educated and independent women. In many instances these women feel forced to stay in abusive relationships due to the societal stigma that comes from failed marriages or relationships and the lack of awareness of how to deal with domestic violence in general. Many people also wrongly believe abuse to only refer to physical violence. However, domestic abuse includes physical, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, creating an atmosphere of fear and despair for the victim.

I believe that the first step in putting an end to gender abuse is educating ourselves and our community. Out Against Abuse is a blog based website devoted to discussing the issues surrounding domestic violence and gender based abuse in the South Asian community. The blog will be updated with articles discussing key women’s issues and also with interviews conducted with various activists working to combat domestic abuse. This forum was created to increase awareness and discussion in the South Asian community about gender based abuse. The more we become conscious and educated about the issue, the harder we can work at ending violence against women. But for that we need your thoughts, comments, and collaboration to spread the word in our community.

With that, I leave you with the question: What actions can we exactly take to educate our community and put a stop to violence against women? Whether the impact is great or small, how can we all do our part to end violence?

* http://www.apiahf.org/apidvinstitute/ResearchAndPolicy/factsheet.htm

4 Comments

LipnaJan 28 2008 - -

I completely agree with you. Most important thing to prevent abusing is educating our community. I feel the two most important thing that can have an impact is the "importance of peace in family" and "respecting spouse". If a person is concerned about the family peace he/she will be concerned about the activities that can affect the family. Also if everybody respect others we will be caring and more reasonable to others for our activities. By abusing i do not only mean abusing house wives, I also mean abusing maid servents also. I think these are very important issues that we should be concerned about and we should really think about ways to overcome these. Nice Article!!

sabrinJan 29 2008 - -

Good point Lipna. I think that most of the issues of gender abuse, especially in the South Asia community, come from a lack of respect, or a faltered definition of what exactly "respecting a spouse" or significant other means. In some instances I have seen that upbringing and how a child sees women treated play a role in how that child acts towards women in the future.

Purvi ShahJan 29 2008 - -

It's amazing to see the community support and momentum to addressing violence. We at Sakhi for South Asian Women (www.sakhi.org) have witnessed a tripling of our call volume in the last 6 years -- from 201 new requests in 2001 to 727 last year. This does not mean the incidence of violence is increasing but that more people understand abuse is unacceptable and want to pursue journeys to safety and empowerment. What is also heartening to see is more men reaching out on behalf of women in their lives. We know we need to work across the community to end violence! Community change -- and altering attitudes which perpetuate violence -- is a long-term goal and process. To see some ways we can all build a supportive community, watch our PSA, "What's on Your List?" at http://www.sakhi.org/app/videodisplaypsa.asp. Congratulations on raising this critical issue and fostering dialogue. Working together we can create change! Cheers, Purvi

NeerajJan 31 2008 - -

I think the best answer to your question is collaboration. As you said yourself, connecting with other kindred communities and resources is paramount at this time. Through this a unified voice that can reach many ears can be sounded. I think you are doing a great job promoting dialogue and I know alot of good will be done though this reasource.

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