Around 70% of women in India are victims of some form of domestic violence, according to Renuka Chowdhury, former Union minister for Women and Child Development. Tasalli (a Hindi word meaning comfort or shelter), also known as the Bangalore Women's Safe House, is assisting women in India by providing proficient services to protect women subjected to violence and abuse.
Often when women experience domestic violence and abuse, due to community stigma and warped patriarchal values, they are often left homeless and vulnerable to further violence. The Bangalore Women's Safe House provides a safe home for women and children escaping domestic violence. Women living in the safe home are offered training in office administration, child care, health and beauty, Information Technology, tailoring, interior design and English which improve their employability significantly.
The Bangalore Women's Safe House also improves community education and awareness about domestic violence. They have been creating support networks within local churches to reach out to women in the community. They also regularly present an awareness and sensitisation program to various community and church groups, focused on building a safer community for women to live in.
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ABN 28 525 237 517
- Pray for the women and children fleeing extreme violence that they may know peace in the safe house an find healing from physical and mental injuries.
- Remember the staff who work in an environment of danger and the challenges they face in working with traumatised women and children.
December 2016 - Deepthi's Story
The future often feels uncertain for children who grow up in abusive homes. No matter how capable and gifted these young people are, instability at home too often means that they are forced to miss out on opportunities to build better lives for themselves and their families.
One story that stands out to me is that of Deepthi reflects on her life. Deepthi grew up in a home with a paranoid and violent father who frequently verbally and physically abused her mother. The beatings were severe, so much so that sometimes her mother would end up in hospital. Yet, despite the difficulties of her home life, Deepthi was an exceptionally bright student.
Deepthi enjoyed school – she always did well in exams and it provided an escape from home life. She was in her last year of secondary school and the number one academic student in her grade. She was preparing to enrol for college when one day everything changed.
Her mother run away. The constant physical and mental abuse had become unbearable. She had lost partial sight and hearing because of the severity of the violence. Deepthi’s mother had been referred on to us.
Deepthi and her siblings were able to join their mother but it came at a cost. This meant moving away from the school where the children were enrolled, friends, and whatever financial support Deepthi’s father provided.
When the Deepthi first arrived at the safe home, she could barely speak and write in English. When staff picked up on Deepthi’s brightness, they assisted her in enrolling in a Bachelor degree at a local university. It was challenging, but Deepthi rose to the challenge.
Not only was Deepthi able to receive an education, her family received the joy and security of faith in Christ.This faith has transformed uncertainty, doubt and worry into peace and hope for the future.
It has now been two years since Deepthi graduated from her course with excellent marks. She is now registered with a Chartered Accountancy Institute where she received a graduate position.
To say we are proud of Deepthi would be an understatement. She is now a light of hope for her family. Not only is she able to help provide for her mother and siblings, but she is also an example and an encouragement to her sisters and brother as they pursue their own educations. Deepthi is an example of the great things that can happen when a person with integrity, diligence and drive is empowered through quality education.
Overcoming an Abusive Marriage
Divya grew up in a family that had two older brothers and one older sister, totalling a family of five. Whilst she was studying a Bachelor of Arts, one of the boys in her village developed an interest against her and persuaded her to marry him. (He was a Dalit, which is known as the lower class) Eventually Divya fell in love and could trust this man with her life. Divya’s family didn’t agree with the marriage because he was lower class. At the start of the marriage everything was fine, although as time went on the husband became abusive physically and verbally.
She was forced to cook all three meals for 11 members of his joint family and she was never given enough food to eat. She then became pregnant and the abuse continued, at this point her husband stopped talking to her and started treating her like a slave. Whilst she was in full term pregnancy she was forced to carry water pots and her husband continued to hit her. She found pictures of other women on his phone. He would often come home late and drunk and commonly went on ‘short trips’ but never revealed the details of where he was going. If she refused to have sex with him, he attempt to rape her. Sometimes he went to the extreme of bashing and tying her up.
On top of all of this she found out that her father-in-law, brother-in-law and husband were treasure hunters and wanted to give her up as a human sacrifice. Black magic was performed on her and this was when she decided to leave. She attempted to take her life twice but stopped herself at the thought of her son. After suffering three years of abuse she courageously told her family about it. When the family heard they immediately intervened and brought her back to their house. They got in touch with a women’s organisation and sent her to a shelter. She filed 4 letters and a petition of divorce and is on the verge of receiving the divorce. After time at the shelter Divya changed from someone who talked about taking her life to someone who started dreaming of becoming a social worker. This transformation was brought about through the Lord working in her life. She joined a vocational training course and secured a job as a therapist for mentally challenged children. She is an upcoming leader at the shelter home and is looked up to as a role model. The school says she is one of their best workers and has recently received certificates held by her husband. To pursue her dream she has become enrolled in a Masters of Social work.
Other achievements through the Women’s safe house in 2016 include:
*Four of the women at the shelter have taken up professional courses to study and further their education and qualifications. Two of these women are enrolled in an ‘assistant nursing course’, the other two are enrolled in a social work and accounting course.
*All women get psychological help through psychological treatment, psychotherapy, counselling and mentoring. Through these treatments the women’s lives are transforming.
*This quarter two full-time staff are to handle ‘Programs’ and ‘Aftercare’ for the project.
*The project is recognised by some local churches as an important ministry among the neglected and are the first point of referral for leading women’s organisations.