Bengaluru: “Stories of survivors and the power of empathy are the seeds that have the strength to bring about a change!” was the note on which ‘Our Young Voices’ (a youth-led community) celebrated the Human Rights Day on Tuesday.
The youth community advocated the need for lending an ear (free from pre-judgements) to experiences of violations. Gender-based violence at various levels was discussed not as women’s confrontations but as a concern of humankind. This marked the last day of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence that was initiated to address the concerns of human rights violations and to respect the rights of victims and survivors.
Issues of infertility, body imaging and different forms of abusive relationships are the concerns that women are confronting. Ms Roseline Gomes, a lecturer, counselor and remedial trainer, said, “In most instances, women who are subjected to marital rapes and abusive relationships are largely in denial mode. People are unaware of violations and through counseling sessions we initially help them come out of denial. Gradually, through techniques like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, we work with these women to identify problems and help them find solutions themselves.”
Ms Gomes believed that these confrontations are largely due to society’s set standards and institutionally accredited gender norms. By taking up an empathetic approach, the prescribed gender norms can be relaxed, paving the way for acceptance. Acceptance of individuality is a necessity and a human right, she said.
On the need for support groups, she highlighted the need for creating a space that is healthy for ones’ self and also with people one can connect with. In the process, problems and violations can be shared which also helps in spreading awareness about the rights.
Institutions play an important role in spreading awareness. With educational institutions, emphasis to activities of awareness should not end at the classroom level. It should be ensured that students act as messengers to spread awareness across society. Ms. Gomes stressed the need for giving importance to the knowledge of local languages, as only then will the message of violations and awareness to combat the same can be complete.
“Law can only be a basic ground for change. But we as individuals should take it upon us to see to it that the laws are translated into reality,” said Ms. Sudipta Das, a Kolkata-based artist, and advocate for the rights of LGBTQIA community.
The revoking of Sec. 377 and NALSA judgement was indeed a great success for the acceptance of LGBTQI rights but its impact on the grass root sections is limited, she added. Therefore, judiciary lays the foundation for change but it is upon the human kind and social norms to implement the same....