HYDERABAD: The culture of reporting violence is still very low in the districts of Telangana when compared to urban pockets as the response to 181 Helpline for women in the State has been very polarised. In the two years of its operations, the Helpline 181 has managed to tackle over 8,210 emergencies relating to women. However, the lion’s share of these complaints, almost 50% were from Hyderabad, Rangareddy and Medchal districts.
Of the 8,210 emergencies attended to, 4459 were from the districts of Hyderabad, Rangareddy and Medchal. The number of complaints from other districts with tier-2 cities and urban pockets like Warangal Urban, Khammam, Karimnagar was lower with only 289, 341 and 313 respectively in the last two years.
Experts note that this is happening as women still haven’t cultivated the habit of reporting domestic violence. There is also lack of trust in the system in rural pockets and victims don’t feel confident to share their problems with the system, in fear of retaliation. “It is a relatively complex issue when it comes to districts because reporting violence comes attached with an aspect of shame and the disintegration of family,” Lakshmi, from Women’s Helpline, said.
She further said that since nature of Helpline is to tackle cases of domestic violence primarily, several women are scared to share their problems to officials. Domestic violence is also the most common form of violence inflicted on women not only from husbands, but also from other members of the family.
To tackle this divide between victims in need of support and their apprehensions with the system, the 181 Helpline officials and Sakhi centre staff are roping in various Women Self Help Groups and holding awareness workshops.
“The concept of Sakhi centre and these helplines is new. We are aiming to build trust among police officials and women leaders in rural areas to ensure that these centres become integrated with the existing legal system,” Girija B, State Program Coordinator for One Stop Crisis Centre, said. She further added that Superintendents of Police from all districts are being encouraged to propagate the One Stop Crisis Centre among women in distress.