BENGALURU: A week ago, Raveena (name changed), a garment worker in the city accompanied her friend to the police station to report domestic abuse. She was perplexed when the sub inspector, taking down her friend’s complaint, asked Raveena if she was married.
She said she wasn’t, and the sub inspector told her that were she married, she would know the value of a husband.
Raveena told City Express: “I am a survivor of domestic abuse myself. After much struggle, I separated from my husband and I am trying to make a living on my own. I do not wear the mangala-sutra or any other accessory signifying marriage.”
Many women like her want to come out of abusive relationships. “It is bad enough that we have to face the onslaught of society every day,” she says. “The insensitivity shown by police pushes us further into a corner.”
Many women hesitate to file complaints, in fear of apathetic officials. To sensitise police personnel about issues concerning women and to encourage women to report abuse without hesitation, Amnesty International India, in co-ordination with the Karnataka State Police, hosted Ready to Report, a forum on Women’s Day on Tuesday.
The Ready to Report programme began with a skit on abuse of women at the workplace and at home. Police officers, activists and women from different walks of life then discussed the common hurdles faced in filing complaints and how they can be overcome. Some suggestions were including gender sensitisation in school textbooks, creating awareness among women about sexual harassment and sensitising policemen.
The programme is being implemented across 10 stations in the city.
Inspector General of Police Alok Kumar said several cases of harassment were going unreported. He encouraged women to register complaints in case of abuse or violence. “Police should encourage them and register the complaints brought to the station,” he said.
Nagamani, an ASI at Koramangala Station, said the cops’ approach to registering complaints had changed. She said the Abhaya Vehicle, with the helpline number 1091, and the women’s desk in police stations had ensured that the police played a more pro-active role.