In June 1991, generic the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), clinic with participants of the first Women’s Global Institute on Women, cost Violence and Human Rights, called for a global campaign — 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
Participants chose the dates 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and 10 December, International Human Rights Day, in order to emphasize that violence against women is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including 29 November, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, 1 December, World AIDS Day, and 6 December, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when 14 women engineering students were gunned down for being feminists.
Since its inception, the campaign has grown exponentially and, in 2005, activities took place in some 130 countries, involving different levels and sectors of government, international and local NGOs, and United Nations entities.
Stree Mukti Sanghatana is a grass root level organization. Under one of our projects Parisar Vikas, we have formed self help groups of waste pickers. We also try to help these women and their families with various other issues such as health, good sanitation facilities, rationing problems and education problems. Another of our project is the Family Counseling Centre. We have these centres in Vashi, Chembur, Parel, Dombivali, Pune, Buldhana and Osmanabad. It is during our interaction with women at grass root levels or with our counseling centre clients we have realize that a lot women face gender violence. But what made it worse is the attitude of these women who accepte gender violence as a way of life. Keeping this in mind, in the year 2012 Stree Mukti Sanghatana observed this fortnight in our Parel, Chembur, Vashi, Buldhana and Osmanabad branches. We conducted various sessions for slum dwellers to help these women understand the concept of violence. We explained that violence could be emotional, economical, related to health and not just physical violence. Through interactive sessions we discussed ways by which these women could empower themselves against these atrocities. In this period we sensitized over 2500 women and adolescent girls.
In the year 2013, during the course of our work we realized that there is an alarming increase in the number of rape cases and there were also growing incidences of acid attacks on women. Even more alarming was the attitude of the family members towards rape survivors. They would not want these survivors to register police complaints or undergo medical check-up. Hence we decided to conduct sessions in various slum pockets in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai to educate women about the recent changes in the law and the procedure to be followed in case of rape. It was decided that the outreach workers and counselors of Stree Mukti Sanghatana would conduct these sessions. To equip the staff with adequate information we conducted Training of Trainers for the staff and gave them elaborate information about the laws and the current changes made. We also underwent another training in which the staff was sensitized on how to handle the issue in groups and we were also told the ways and means by which to make the sessions interactive and were told the importance of making these sessions interactive.