Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wear Your Purple Ribbon and Be Proud

October is National Domestic Violence Month in the US. Many places are passing out purple ribbon stickers and you will see people wearing purple ribbons. This ribbon is the symbol for all of the women out there who have survived domestic violence. Domestic violence isn't just a US issue though. I actually like this poster from India better. I know the connotations for it are different but it still fits with domestic violence victims in the US.

This poster comes from the 50 Million Missing Campaign. Check them out on FaceBook.

Many women go missing - either from murder, running away, etc. - in the US as well.Unfortunately many women don't have help available to get out of these situations, some aren't strong enough to do it alone. Others are convinced by their abuser that they will never get away or that they can't survive without the abuser. That's part of the abuse - the verbal beatings. Sometimes they are worse than the physical beating because the wounds never heal.

For healthy adults (i.e. over 18 without physical or mental disabilities): Under both US and Indian law there are no provisions for verbal abuse. There are no provisions for mental abuse. Both countries recognize it exists but do little to fight it or criminalize it. You have to find your own way out but how do you do that when you don't know where to go or who to turn to? How do you feel safe getting out knowing you have no money or believing your abuser will come after you?

While I can't answer those questions for you. I urge you to trust that there is life free from abuse. It won't be easy and you will need time to heal mentally but you can do it. There is strength inside of you and there are legal actions you can take. There are networks of people out there who want to help you. Below are the resources you may need to get help. Don't let the abuse continue.

These lists are not exhaustive. Please share in the comments any other resources you know of that address domestic violence or similar issues such as recovery, counseling or helping women stand on their own two feet. 

US Resources:
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) - TTY 1-800-787-3224
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Rape, Abuse and Incest Network (RAINN) 1-800-656-HOPE
Family Violence Prevention Fund 415-252-8900 - TTY:800-595-4889
Safe Horizons Crime Victims HOTLINE: 1-800-621-4673
Safe Horizons Rape and Sexual Assult & Incest HOTLINE: 212-227-3000
Safe Horizons TYY (for all HOTLINES) 1-866-604-5350
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-537-2238
Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-313-1310
Battered Womens Justice Project 1-800-903-0111, extension 1
Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Custody 1-800-527-3223
National Network to End Domestic Violence
National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women
Narika (for South Asian women)- 1-800-215-7308

India Resources (not all domestic violence specific): 
Sakshi, Delhi91-11-24621743 , 91-9811233595

Women's Rights Initiative  - Delhi +91-11-46805555 -- Mumbai +91-22-43411600
Majlis Bombay  -
Swadhar (Mumbai based)
Swadhar IDWC Pune - 020 2453 3452
Vimochana Main Website (suspended) Alternate Site
Anweshi based in Kerala 0091-495-2744370 or 2744128
Sachetna (Kolkata) 91-33-24634485
Socio-Legal Aid Research and Training Center - 91-33-2464 6098 / 5430
Swayam (Kolkata) - 033-2803429 
Safe Delhi (focuses on sexual harassment) - 91 11 2669 1219 or91 11 2669 1220
Jagori (see link, this group has multiple initiatives in many cities)


  1. Just today in the New York Times, there was an article on how rape is reported in India, given recent events: . Another fact of domestic violence in India that has shocked me is that one woman dies every hour in India in dowry related cases. Aamir Khan reported that in May on Satyamev Jayate. I know that there is domestic violence in both India and the US, but I feel more hopeful when society is able to openly discuss the problem, and thankfully that stigma has been lifted in the US for the most part. From what I read, it seems to me that any woman in the US who really needs protection from domestic violence can find an agency to help her, but the problem is that the mental state of abused women sometimes prevents them from taking the first step. One area that I see as a big problem in the US is cyber bullying because it seems that the law has remained behind in figuring out how to criminalize bullying although attempts are being made to bring accountability to those who bully.

  2. Cyberbullying is tough because the victim is not facing the attacker and prevention methods are set in place (in most cases) to alleviate the issue. BUT at the same time, people take cyberbullying much further because of the perception that it's no big deal or the internet doesn't matter. Whereas the law is concerned, there's nothing on the books to cover routine harrassment online. As long as threats are not made, they treat this no differently than the school yard bully -it's simply not a crime to be a jerk. But, there are many cases of cyberbullying that can be prosecuted under other laws because the bully takes things offline - like slander, stalking, etc. These seem to be the best way to prosecute those crimes so far. For the most part, the internet is not policed because of the cost and labor involved. The international nature of most crimes, the forensic tracking, and interstate traffic make it almost impossible to do anything about unless you can relate it to an offline crime. The states work together but each one has different laws, the same with various countries. I could keep going but I'm sure you get the point. There's too many agencies involved and their hands are tied because of our current law structure.