Akshara Centre is thrilled to announce the launch of the Bengali version of the video #LockdownOnDomesticViolence, in collaboration with David & Goliath Films and Swayam, supported by Richa Sharma, Aparna Sen, Usha Uthup, Parambrata Chatterjee, Bickram Gosh, Konkona Sen Sharma, Adil Hussain and Jaya Sil. They urge people to not be bystanders but to report and help women seek help on West Bengal women‟s commission helpline no. Their passionate support to be a part this cause will be significant to educate and spread awareness about social crimes like domestic violence in our country.
Since the nationwide lockdown, people have been directed to “stay home” to prevent the virus spread. Consequently, cases of Domestic Violence have increased manifold. For countless women living 24×7 with their abusers, the lockdown has hugely exacerbated the violence they face, and the National Commission for Women has reported a twofold increase in Domestic Violence since the lockdown. This situation is now recognized as a „ Shadow Pandemic‟ by UN Women and countries across the world are seeing a surge in domestic violence.
Akshara Centre in collaboration with David & Goliath Films and Swayam along with Special Cell for Women and Children (TISS) with support from Government of Maharashtra, the Police and many eminent personalities from the sports and entertainment industry, came together to produce a powerful video #LockdownOnDomesticViolence, in English, Hindi and Marathi that urges citizens to fight and raise their voice against the brutality taking place in their homes and creates much needed awareness about Domestic Violence in the current situation. On 19th April, the Government of Maharashtra launched the video on their twitter handle which has reached more than 5.5 million views.
Mr. Lal Bhatia, Chairman and Mr. Imran Zaki, Director of David & Goliath Films, said: “The primary aim of David and Goliath Films as a production house is to make movies that inspire change in the evil practices prevalent in our society. Our film titled ‘Every 68 Minutes’ highlights the evil practice of domestic abuse due to dowry and how it is responsible for the death of a woman in India every 68 minutes.”
Mrs. Richa Sharma, Brand Ambassador of David & Goliath Films, said: “I am thankful to David & Goliath Films for this campaign along with Akshara Centre, the West Bengal Commission for Women, Swayam and the celebrities for supporting this important cause. I am hopeful that we will be able to spread awareness about this important issue which has only become more dangerous during this lock down but also save many women from the clutches of disrespect, abuse & domestic violence.”
Talking about this initiative Mrs. Nandita Shah, Co-Director of Akshara Centre said:“This increase in domestic violence during lockdowns is not just an Indian phenomenon; it is being reported all over the world. We know that containment measures and quarantine are essential to overcome COVID-19 but we cannot have women entrapped in violent homes where even making a phone call is difficult. We are happy that a new video is being launched in West Bengal with collaboration of partners and support of West Bengal Women‟s Commission.”
Mrs. Leena Gangopadhyay, Chairperson, West Bengal Commission for Women said: “As days have progressed after the lockdown was announced, the harrowing reality of domestic violence on women has seen a manifold surge. In these troubled times, this video is a welcome and much needed step in giving women the voice to stand up against the abusers and fight back against domestic violence. The West Bengal Commission for Women is extremely happy to provide support to women through this initiative.”
Mrs. Anuradha Kapoor, Director Swayam said: “Over a third of women in India are subjected to Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence is a reality which results in over 10,000 women being killed or driven to commit suicide by their family members every year. The lockdown has made the home even more unsafe for women who are now unable to access any support due to lack of mobility, lack of access to phones, transport and to support services. This initiative urges each one of us to share the helpline number, reach out to women and take action to end Domestic Violence”.