What about stopping the violence before it happens?
The Gauravi Centre doesn’t just provide aftercare for survivors of violence.
It also runs outreach work in the wider community, in order to break down stigmas and change attitudes. This includes holding talks in schools and colleges where participants find out how to report abuse and what their rights are.
Centre workers also train police officers to ensure cases are dealt with promptly and sensitively. They work with lawyers to ensure surivors get justice and perpetrators are held to account. Together, this sends a powerful message to community members about the rights of women and girls - and begins to break the cycle of violence.
They also run programmes to help women become financially independent, including a scheme to train women to become auto-rickshaw (tuk-tuk) and bus drivers — a profession that is usually seen as male-only. And they support families to get government funding to continue girls’ education, so that girls can grow up with a better knowledge of their rights.
Staff who are survivors themselves
Rani is a survivor of domestic violence — she was physically abused by her husband for six years. While pregnant with her second child, he attacked her and left her deaf in one ear.
She came to the Gauravi Centre for help, and received medical treatment, legal help and counselling.
Now, Rani works at the centre. She takes as many as 100 calls a day from women experiencing violence, and supports them when they come into the centre.
“When there is a woman who enters the centre depressed, and returns happy, that brings me a lot of happiness,” Rani says.
“It brings me happiness to bring happiness into other women’s lives.”
“More centres across the country would help more women to be empowered, help more women to get rid of fears and would be able to raise their voices against the violence.”
“The people at the centre are like family to me”
Talat, 26, is a survivor of domestic violence who has been trained at the centre to become a tuk-tuk driver.
She plans to use it to transport people to and from the centre, and teach other women to drive. She says:
“Each time I used to see auto drivers on roads, I used to think, ‘why is it just men driving autos?’”
“So, when this opportunity came to me to learn how to drive, I chose it because I wanted to learn something different and be a woman auto driver.
“When I first went behind the wheel, I was a little under-confident, but once I started to get trained and started to drive I gained the confidence and today, I can drive my auto confidently. And I feel really happy about it.”
 Based on 38,947 reported rapes in 2016. Source: 2016 India National Crime Record Bureau, p.xix
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