The International Day for Elimination of all forms of Violence against Women on 25th Nov and the 16 Days Activism 25th Nov -10th Dec is being observed with various Activities. The UN theme for 16 Days Campaign 2023 is “UNiTE! Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women & Girls! #No Excuse”. Centre for Women’s Development Studies took the initiative to conduct the 16 Days Activism from 25th Nov -10th Dec 2023 in collaboration with 15 Universities. Centre for Women’s Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad held its event online as part of the 16 Days Activism on 7th December 2023. The Head, Centre for Women’s Studies extended a warm welcome to all, thanked CWDS, New Delhi and Centre for Women’s Studies, Bangalore University for collaborating to conduct the event, and invited Prof. U. Vindhya, Former Professor, TISS, Hyderabad to deliver her talk on Understanding Psychological Violence against women. Prof Vindhya’s talk illuminated the long journey our understanding of violence against women has undergone. In her discussion, she shed light on the historical limitations of defining violence against women, highlighting the previous exclusion of the crucial psychological element. It wasn’t until 1993, only two decades ago, that the first comprehensive international definition of this violence against women was established, marking a significant step forward in recognizing its multifaceted nature.
Psychological violence, unlike its physical counterpart, often exists in the subtle realm of human interaction, leaving its scars on the mind and emotions. Unlike a physical bruise, the wounds inflicted by psychological violence are often invisible, making it a complex and challenging issue to address. Prof. Vindhya remarked how this makes psychological violence a gray area to understand. She elaborated on the various forms psychological violence is manifested in everyday lives, such as emotional and verbal abuse, coercion, gaslighting, stalking and harassment, cyber bullying, etc. The talk also highlighted how we should address the questions of gender violence in its intersection with various other axes of class, caste, religion and region. The talk ended with a positive note on the ways through which we can combat these kinds of violence by building an egalitarian and democratic culture of mutual respect and equality. She also emphasized the need for redefining ideas of masculinity and engaging with boys and young men to re-evaluate societal notions of masculinity.
The lecture was followed by an engaging question and answer session. Participants asked questions related to domestic violence, cinematic portrayal of gender violence in recent movies and questions around understanding of women’s psychological issues such as postpartum depression. The discussion highlighted by understanding the complexities, fostering open dialogue, and providing support, we can work towards a future where psychological violence against women is recognized, addressed, and prevented.
The event was attended by activists, students, research scholars, and faculty from 16 universities. Prof. N. Manimekalai, Director, CWDS, Dr. Sudeshna Mukherjee, Centre for Women’s Studies, Bangalore University were also present. Ms. Satya, Activist, AWEKSHA, invited by the Centre for Women’s Studies, Bangalore University spoke on “A Hospital-based Intervention in the Treatment Activist, and Follow up of Burn Survivors”.
Report by Alice Abraham, Doctoral Scholar, Centre for Women’s studies