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Empowering Women — A Talk By Think Beyond held on 13th December 2013 at IBS Auditorium.

Mardo ne banayi jo rasme, unko haq ka farmaan kaha

aurat ke zindaa jalne ko, kurbani aur balidaan kaha

ismat ke badle roti di, usako bhi ehsaan kaha

aurat ne janam diya mardo ko, Mardon ne use Bazaar diya

Sahir Ludhianvi penned this verse in 1958. Nothing much has changed since then. Notwithstanding the strong protests from people after Nirbhaya case in December 2012, resulting in passing of stringent laws and faster court judgments, the atrocities – sexual, domestic and other over women have not really lessened.

There is a need to change the mindset of male population which can happen only if women become aware about protecting themselves using self-defense as well as become aware of various statutes of law that can help them.

Keeping this as an objective, Think Beyond, the Powai based self-help group involved in various social causes organized a seminar on 13th December 2013 at IBS auditorium in Hiranandani Gardens, Powai. Titled, Protecting Women Against Violence and Crime, the seminar was organized to bring together the women of Powai – from all walks – residents, educational institutes, corporate and lesser privileged.

The seminar was addressed by Dr. M M Dahikar – DCP Zone X, Ms. Kamayani Bali Mahabal – noted human rights activist and a lawyer and Mr. Joseph Reddy – GM Admin and Facilities, Hiranandani Group who specializes and is well versed with legal issues.

The evening was well-begun with Senior Citizen group of Hiranandani rendering beautifully the invocation for strength and faith. Dr Samata Jain and Prof Y K Bhushan welcomed the attendees and the guests. Prof Y K Bhushan, in his welcome addressed appreciated the initiative by Think Beyond and also apprised about the related activities of IBS College.

DCP Dr Dahikar, in his informative and inspiring speech called for the women to be fearless and alert in order to curb the growing menace in the society. He briefed the audience about various provisions in law that a woman can use – either to defend herself or to bring perpetrators of a crime to justice. He informed the audience, how 96% of the perpetrators are known to the victim. At the same time he found it heartening that more and more women are coming forward to report the crimes. Citing examples from his illustrious career, he explained some of the procedures as well as the steps taken by Police to ensure speedier justice for women – which include making the police stations more women-friendly, including having a women police officer present for taking down the complaints from any woman, ensuring that if required the lady in distress can be escorted to a comfortable & safe location, ensuring non-disclosure of her identity and hearing ‘in camera’ by a lady judicial officer. His message to the women was “DO NOT TOLERATE NONSENSE”.

Ms. Kamayani Mahabal, using an informal interactive approach, and through an effective multi-media presentation, shifted the paradigm from “protection of women” to “freedom of women”. She spoke about the need for the society to bring about a change in its mindset itself about women by treating them as human first – without attaching any tag of a relationship. She also informed about various platforms which are bringing women together – locally as well as globally – for such causes. She also stressed on the need for the law to be not only remedial but also a deterrent to prevent crime.

Mr. Joseph Reddy, using his expertise and experience, spoke about the intricacies of various acts that have been enacted recently for the empowerment and protection of women. He specifically dwelled on Domestic Violence and sexual abuse and provided an insight through a number of case studies and offered suggestions through various legal provisions. He also spoke passionately about how good values, imbibed through family, can ensure a long term change in the behavior towards women in the society.

While the students of SM Shetty College presented a skit on the topic, the attendees to the Seminar were also given an exhibition of self-defense techniques – martial art by Ms. Suman Basu and Krav-Maga by Mr. Luke Mendes and Ms Malaika Joshi.

Besides IBS College and Hiranandani Group, the other supporting organization for Think Beyond’s  seminar were Haiko, Yellow Chilli and Scattering Brains Experiences. The other supporters to the cause included Dignity Foundation. Planet Powai, Powai info and TV9 supported the seminar by spreading awareness about the same.  The occasion was also graced by the presence of ACP Mr. Bhamre, SPI Mr. Jadhav and Mrs. Madhuri Singh, the chairperson of Tejaswini Mahila Sanstha. Besides, the seminar was well attended with and comprised of various Police officers , including a large number of women officers & constables, local residents, members of VIDYA, students of S M Shetty & Chandrabhan Sharma college as well as representatives of corporate including Colgate, Nomura & Suriti.

Think Beyond, wants to carry on this dialogue and engage with various segments of the society for an ongoing campaign to empower women. For this purpose, you may contact Minoo at letusthinkbeyond@gmail.com.

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