In the course of Tathapi’s work over the last ten years, we began to feel a gap in policy, law and its implementation related to violence against women (VAW) and the experiences reported by women and men in the many trainings, capacity buildings, surveys and campaigns etc that we are part of. Many women were reporting forms of violence on women with increased intensity, changing forms of marriage practice, dowry; dowry /property demands increasing where the sudden influx of cash is seen such as in special economic zones (SEZs).
In order to get a better understanding of the work against violence against women and help us to plan our own strategies for intervention better, we decided to map
- the nature of work being done
- types of violence being reported to crisis /counselling centres
- the perspectives of activists on VAW
- activists impressions of the changing forms of violence
- needs expressed by organisations to strengthen the work on VAW
This exercise did not include the experience with the domestic violence act implementation, as we felt that many workshops have taken place which have shared experiences on the DV Act.
The mapping process took place from June to December 2008. The survey was not part of any funded programme, and was conducted with a shoe-string budget. The first dissemination meeting took place in Aurangabad, February 2009, the second in Pune in April 2009. In these meetings the draft report was presented for comments.
We sent out 200 questionnaires by post. We received 24 replies. Then we visited 38 organisations and 1 individual in 21 districts of Maharashtra. Information on 4 organisations were taken from the internet and published reports. Two forms were incomplete, hence, 64 responses are included in communication material; we filled a structured form, interviewed 39 activists (and recorded interviews of 33) on the range of work, perspectives and problems faced when working on violence against women. The recordings were later transcribed.
We also scanned the campaign material of three larger campaigns in Maharashtra, namely, We Can, Laadli, and Bell Bajao.