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How Frustration Over a Rape Case Led A Doctor to Fight for Victims of Abuse

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A rape case in Assam and other instances of violence against women left a deep impact on Dr. Divya Gupta, a gynaecologist from Indore. She started an organization called Jwala for Justice, which not only takes on cases of violence against women but also provides much needed support and other assistance to the victims.

“Jwala was born out of frustration, anger, and helplessness that had been simmering for a long time. We have seen so many cases of rape and abuse of women. There is a point after which you just have to do something,” says Dr. Divya Gupta, founder of Jwala for Justice (JFJ), an Indore based organization that fights violence against women.

And for Dr. Divya, that point came right after the Guwahati girl molestation case in 2012. A teenage girl was molested and manhandled by a crowd of approximately 30 men outside a bar. “That shook me. I organized a peace march in support of the girl and my journey with Justice for Jwala started,” says Dr. Divya.

Jwala for Justice reaches out to women who have been abused in many ways.

From providing education and employment opportunities to self-defence classes, JFJ provides support to the victims and other vulnerable women.

Although her team provides counselling and mental support to the victims as an initial step, Dr. Divya says she wasn’t satisfied with this effort.

“This was not enough. If we wanted to see real impact, we had to make them financially independent.”

This is when JFJ launched a small bag-making unit. The team trained several women in making hand crafted bags out of newspapers and sold them in the market.

But since newspaper bags were not durable enough, the team started training the women in making bags out of waste cloth.

This was a huge push to the women who were mostly dependent upon their male counterparts for money. They would not leave them or take any action against them since they did not have any other place to go. But the small business venture gave them some much-needed financial security.

One woman who benefitted from JFJ is Ramila (name changed). She was physically abused by her alcoholic husband. One day, when things went out of hand, she tried contacting the nearby police station. But instead of taking her matter seriously, police officials sent her back home. This is when Ramila contacted JFJ. The organization immediately intervened and filed a complaint against her husband. Ramila’s husband was finally sent to jail.

Another success story is that of Savita, a 32-year-old woman who was badly beaten by her husband. JFJ provided the needed legal help, education and counselling to Savita. She is now teaching in a college and living an independent life.

JFJ also organised a talk after the horrific Nirbhaya rape case in New Delhi. Dr. Divya addressed thousands of men and women on the issue of women’s safety.

“I realized that all this while we have been taking the wrong approach. We have been talking to women while instead we should be educating the men. They are the root cause of the problem and it is their mind set that has to be changed,” she says.

Dr. Divya’s main aim is to make the vulnerable girls more empowered and confident. She got some trained professionals on board and started self defence classes for girls. The team has trained over 15,000 girls so far.

“I just want to convey one message to every abuser. The moment you touch us, we will become a jwala and burn you down,” concludes Dr. Divya.

Check out their website for more details.

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