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#India: Stop #Violence on #Women – Take 3 Steps to #Freedom

August 14, 2013

THE FREEDOM PROJECTIf you reading this we invite you to join us on our ‘Freedom Project!’  Be assured your participation is completely anonymous.

We hope that people everywhere will participate, but since the ‘Freedom’ issues we tackle here are culturally a big challenge for Indians, we hope to hear from lots of Indians living in India and in other countries.

To participate all you have to do is go through the 3 steps described below and then click on the poll button that says ‘Yes! I’ve walked the 3 steps and I am FREE!’ And we will count you as a successful participant!

The 4th step is optional and is for those who feel brave enough to share their freedom story with the rest of us.  This is a community platform, so we will proudly cheer you on!

The purpose of this Freedom Project is to address the issues that are the heart of the systematic violence on women across all classes in Indian society.  These issues include notions of ‘culture,’ ‘loyalty,’ ‘honor,’ ‘family,’ and ‘silence,’ that make women mental and emotional prisoners of violence in their homes and in society.  If we do not break these chains and become free from within, we can never strive for freedom outside.

STEP 1. RECALL

Think of one specific incident of violence on a woman in your personal life that you’d be too ashamed to stand up on a public stage and openly talk about.  The victim could be you (if you are a woman).  Or it could be someone close to you – your mother, aunt, daughter etc.  Recall the incident in details in your mind.  Remember what was done and said.  Think of how you responded.

STEP 2. REFUSE

Now think of all the reasons why you would not stand up on a public stage, share your story, and openly condemn this incident and the perpetrators.  Is it loyalty? Shame? Family? Honor? Fear? Now tell yourself that you are not bound by these and the other mental chains that keep you silent.  Refuse to be loyal. Refuse to be shamed. Refuse to accept this incident in the name of family or love. Refuse to be silenced.

STEP 3. RELEASE

Tell yourself you want to share this story and let everyone know that a wrong was done to you or to a person in your family.  Her rights were violated and she was abused.  And then release this story.  Tell it to someone you trust.  If there is no one you can trust, then find a quiet space and sit down and tell it to your diary or your laptop.

Now you can click on the poll button below that says ‘Yes! I’ve walked the 3 steps and I am FREE!’ (see below) Don’t forget to click on the VOTE button after you’ve made your choice!  At the start of 2014 we will tell you how many other Indian women and men have walked the 3 steps to freedom with you.  We hope to be overwhelmed by the numbers!

 STEP 4. SHARE

This fourth step is entirely optional.  We want those who’ve walked the first three steps to share their story with us.  You can do this under an anonymous name or under your own name openly.  For that either leave your story in the comment box below.  Or make a post on your personal blog and leave us a note in the comment box with the link to that post.  IT IS IMPORTANT YOU KNOW YOU WILL NOT BE ALONE.  CLICK HERE TO READ THE STORIES OF OTHER INDIAN WOMEN WHO’VE REFUSED THE CHAINS OF SHAME AND SILENCE AND HAVE SPOKEN OUT ALOUD!

© The 50 Million Missing Campaign. All Rights Reserved. To share please refer to our copyright guidelines.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2013 2:18 pm

    I have overcome any from of violence in my life by longer allowing or accepting into my life those that do not respect me. This came from valuing myself, gaining self love and worth. I now value the work I have done in transforming my life and see that I have strength. Believing in yourself and your self worth is what was needed in order to recover. The shame, silence only adds to the problem, as women we have to find our voices so that it can prevent the perpetuation of the cycles of violence

  2. Julenne permalink
    August 24, 2013 1:14 am

    I am from Mexico not Indian, but I my mother in law she suffers violence from her husband, right now the are separated but they always come back, one day I heard how my boyfriend’s dad was trying to strangle my mother in law I took it as enough and never stood again on their house for a long time. It’s sad that my mother in law is not capable of saying a definitive no and that her family says her to leave him but somehow when he comes back they act like nothing happened reinforcing that attitude to continue unnoticed. I see how my boyfriend and his little brother are damaged by violence and I hope everything settles for them.

  3. swami prakashh permalink
    August 26, 2013 12:06 pm

    I am always with u for the cause

  4. August 27, 2013 2:55 am

    It was very easy for me to take the pledge since I am a convinced and dedicated feminist. I teach and promote the rights of women and thus I condemn any kind of violence against them, psychological or physical. I am outraged that so many women still suffer or worse die because of stupidity erected as culture or tradition. Keep up the fight!

    • August 29, 2013 11:05 am

      Thank you Jaque. We are so glad to get a response from people from outside India. And we hope that input by men like you who share your experience openly, under your own name, with courage and conviction, will encourage Indian men and women to speak up too.

  5. Diane Tewksbury permalink
    August 27, 2013 3:10 am

    I am not Indian just a white suburban American. I am a grateful rape survivor and have witnessed the ravages sexual abuse and incest in three generations of females in my family. I empathize with the Indian women and al women Who have to endure the atrocities. Some in silence, watching it happen to their daughters and granddaughters.

    • August 29, 2013 11:04 am

      Diane, it is the “shame” and silence imposed on women by society (and often even by other women in the families) which gives power to perpetrators of rape and other forms of violence on women. Women’s movement in the west realized this long ago and have encouraged women to empower themselves by breaking the silence. But even now this is not what women’s groups in India are comfortable advocating. So this freedom project is to start pushing for momentum in India. We are so glad to get a response from people from outside India. And we hope that input by women like you who share your experience openly, under your own name, with courage and conviction, will encourage Indian women to speak up too.

  6. Diane Tewksbury permalink
    August 27, 2013 3:11 am

    Moderation?

  7. Dee permalink
    August 27, 2013 3:45 am

    I am free from any violence toward me, i will NEVER allow another person to take from me without fighting. I see my daughter in law being abused and because of her culture she is afraid to leave because of her family and the shame it will bring to them. My step son blames her for everything and anything and although she knows it is wrong and she is aware of how it makes her feel she still thinks that waiting for things to change us what she must do. No it won’t change, the abuse will cease for a short time to make her feel and believe he loves her and she will fall into a sense of false security and it will begin again. He will make her feel that he is the best for her and then when things go wrong again he will begin his abuse and the cycle stays the same without it being broken. I wish with all my heart this young women could see she is worth more than being told she is nothing. Sadly and although in Australia we have a zero policy for violence against women it is her who has to make the complaint, the police know she is being abused but unless they hear it or see it or she voices a complaint they can not do anything to help her. Violence comes in more ways than one, he takes her money, makes her pay for just about everything, shows no care for leaving her alone in a house whilst he is going behind her back having affairs, Each time he fails at something he blames her it is her fault and he breaks her things, He pushes her around and then says “why are you making out i’m hurting you” He is the worst sort of person there is. His alcoholic mother is exactly the same, hit run and lie. Until my daughter in law finally comes to the realization that this person doesn’t love her at all he wants control of her so she thinks he is her everything and without him she will not survive. Her second marriage has failed and shame is on her. This kind of torture has to stop, and it is torture on her mind. She is beautiful, in intelligent and to allow her to move on and away she needs to stand up and say “NO MORE, I’M FREE”

  8. Marguerite Cameron permalink
    August 27, 2013 4:22 am

    Good morning
    I am not an Indian woman or man but I support your pledge to stop violence against women anywhere in the world and across all class and culture settings.
    I am an Australian living in Australia and I have taken the three steps and fourth step whenever opportunity arises.
    In Australia we have many open channels to bring a focus and awareness to the many impacts on women and children’s lives due to violence against women. However, sadly, the situations in some cases continue for many years before step three is a life experience. It seems, too, that while the violence and issues are hidden, not spoken about and/or not providing support, acceptance of the survivor and the person she is

    • August 29, 2013 11:00 am

      Marguerite — It is true that in the west as you say the open channels for communication on violence had to continue on for many years before step three is a life experience for many women. In India that hasn’t become a call yet! Even feminist groups in India still haven’t call for the breaking of the silence, which we think is the most powerful agent of violence. It is our shame and silence which gives power to perpetrators of violence on women. So this freedom project is to start pushing for momentum in India. We are so glad to get a response from people from outside India. And we hope if we give this up long enough, it will encourage Indians to speak up too.

  9. Cedar Whelan permalink
    August 27, 2013 4:29 am

    I have walked the three steps but I am not Indian I am Australian… can I still be free ?!?!

  10. Becky Oldenburg permalink
    August 27, 2013 8:30 am

    My ex husband abused me physically, emotionally & cheated on me for almost 4 years. I’m sure he broke my ankle but because I worked on the ambulance at the time, I was too ashamed to go to the ER to get it X-rayed. Even after I got divorced from him, he was still kept tabs on where I was at & who I was with. I got remarried almost 10 years later to a wonderful man who would never abuse me in any way & has never abused me in the 17 yrs. we’ve been married.

  11. August 27, 2013 11:16 am

    I was hit by my husband, but the mental cruelty was worse as I thought we would build our lives together but he built his life elsewhere with a cult and I didn’t matter. Then my partner threatened and hit me when he was drunk.

    • September 1, 2013 4:21 pm

      But you got out Mary, and we think that talking about what was done to you puts the crime committed against you in perspective. It is a very important step to get out of the cycle of violence.

    • September 11, 2013 11:04 am

      Stop this cruelty now don’t loose time
      Mary u have my support and friendship if u nee

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