The number of domestic violence cases is on the rise in the state. Out of over 71,000 cases from across the state, Ahmedabad tops the dubious distinction list with nearly 13,500 cases or 18 per cent, say official sources.
A 51-year-old engineer was forcefully confined to her home in Ahmedabad by her 54-year-old husband, a paranoid. His condition got aggravated to extremes eight years ago after their son died in an accident. She was not allowed to step outside the house to go to the market, not to talk to the neighbours, no Navratri garba outings and even to the extent of not opening windows of their house.
Finally, a couple of days ago, she called the women helpline service -181 ‘Abhayam’. The counsellors first tried to counsel the couple at their residence and later they were taken to the local police station where the husband not only accepted his fault but also assured to lift all restrictions on her wife.
This is only a tip of the iceberg. The women helpline — Abhayam — has received over 71,000 calls since its launch in the state in 2014. The helpline has recorded over 30 per cent cases related to severe domestic violence, physical assault and legal issues from women of 25-30 years. Of late, women above 50 years, a few even 75 years, are too opening up to the mental and physical trauma being inflicted upon them on daily basis.
In another case, again from Ahmedabad, a grandmother (75) who is suffering from medical ailments approached the helpline seeking help from her daughter-in-law. As her husband and son were dead and the property was in her name, her daughter-in-law along with her grandson would abuse her, both mentally and physically. The matter was taken to the police by the helpline where the property dispute was settled rescuing the women from the trauma.
Similarly, a woman (54) who has diabetes and other ailments was not able to get treatment. Her husband working in a security agency allegedly spent all his salary on a neighbour with whom he was having an extra-marital affair. Mother of two sons, she managed to run the house from her elder son’s meagre salary of Rs 7,000 per month. Whenever confronted, he would abuse and threaten to divorce her. But finally, she decided to put an end to her miseries and called 181. The matter was taken up by the women police station and resolved amicably.
The helpline service authorities too shared that recently even elderly women are coming up and taking a stand against the trauma. “Our main aim is to facilitate proactive approach towards every possible support for woman such as rescue, counseling, guidance, information covering Gujarat. We are playing a real role in woman empowerment, be it of any age. Witnessing cases from a wide age group, including elderly, 181 ‘Abhayam’ have specially deployed rescue vans at prime locations to provide every security to women of all ages during the festive season of Navratri in Gujarat,” stated Jaswant Prajapati, chief operating officer, Abhayam. Though majority cases were from Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat districts, the women helpline has received cases from other districts too. Recently, a person from Maninagar, Ahmedabad called it over phone and informed that a thirteen-year-old girl was crying near a chawl.
She was rescued by Abhayam staff. They found that the girl was hailing from Santrampur in Dahod. She left her house after she had been beaten up by her father. Abhayam personnel contacted her father through their Dahod coordinator and handed her over to him after admonishing her father.