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“I Would Have Tolerated It But When He Started Locking The Children Out, I Knew I Had To Act”

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By Oxfam India:

Alcoholic and violent husbands like Himanshu are found in abundance in Azamgarh, a place with a very high rate of unemployment. Here, women who gather the courage to say no for the sake of themselves and their children are rare, and inspirational.


I was married at the age of 18 and have three children between the ages of 12 and 16. I came to SRSP to seek respite from my husband, who is an alcoholic and would often beat me up. I was determined that my children will not suffer because of my husband. I would have tolerated it, but when he started locking my children out of the house, I knew I had to act.

The village elders, who knew about its work, directed me to the organization. At SRSP, my children and I got shelter in the short stay home for a while and a Domestic Incident Report was filed with the Probation Officer at Social Welfare Board. My husband was asked to appear in the office. Both of us were counselled, separately and then together.

An agreement was drawn up and I decided to return home on the condition that my husband will not beat up my children or me. As Himanshu worked intermittently and always exhausted his earnings on alcohol, the organization offered me work as a cook. I also found a job under the mid-day meal scheme at a nearby primary school. My new found economic independence and the constant follow up on my case by the organization has ensured that my husband adheres to the conditions of the agreement, even though he hasn’t given up on alcohol yet.

I am also trying to cure his addiction by stealthily mixing homeopathic medicine in his food that promises to cure alcoholism. The change in circumstances has bestowed me with immense confidence.I no longer depend on him to ensure my children’s future. I will educate my daughter as much as possible. Every day I teach my sons to respect women.

Despite my father and brother promising support, I never thought of leaving my marital home. I have complete right over this house, why should I give it up? In my own way, I have also turned into a counsellor for other women in distress, and direct them to the centre.

Women like me suffer abuse because we stay silent. But I tell other women that silence does not help. There is no honour in it, and we must speak out for our rights.

We can prove that it is possible by taking action and promising to speak up.

You must be to comment.
  1. Karthik Dayalan

    You Have Great Courage Madam. The Courage u Got Is Not easily obtained It Got From a geatest pain and sadness, You Can Fill The Light U Have FOr Many Others Who Need it…

  2. Babar

    Society and the law believe a woman’s word without question, but why doesn’t society take a man’s word if he files a complaint against a woman? Instead, the police and society laugh and make a mockery out of it. Every single day, numerous men are falsely accused of domestic violence, dowry, and rape, and their lives are shattered. Innocent men whose reputation is destroyed and havoc wreaked on their entire family, courtesy of cunning and greedy women who misuse the law, and this is leading to an alarming increase in male suicide in India. To add, women perpetrate domestic violence, verbally abuse, and rape. Women also beat and abuse their domestic help over trivial matters is common, and harassing their sons-in-law is an everyday occurrence, where women try to control, dominate, and subjugate those under them.

  3. Babar

    Teenage girl infects 324 men with HIV, plans to reach 2000.

  4. Rajiv Bhole

    Thanks Oxfam India for making everyone aware of the plight of the family members of alcoholics. I had become an addict myself after I got addicted, while a student at IIT Bombay in 1973, to the psychiatric drug dextroamphatemine (Adderall, Dexedrine), which medical doctors are nowadays prescribing to children suffering from attention deficit (ADD/ADHD). So I know full well how badly we addicts and alcoholics treat our family members, and even other females.
    I’ve done a lot of research on the nature of addiction since I quit drugs and alcohol in 1990, and have also written two book on it. A person becomes an alcoholic because of a nutritional deficiency, especially Niacin (Vitamin B-3) deficiency. I have given the pages from a physiology textbook showing how nutritional deficiency leads to depression and addictions on this site: But unfortunately, medical doctors are not informing the people about this information found in their textbooks. This is one of the main reasons why people are becoming alcoholics and so, a menace to their women and children.
    Also, Bill W, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) had got doctors to conduct clinical trials on Niacin, which showed that 71% of the alcoholics who take 3 to 6 grams of Niacin daily are able to stop drinking. He had also reported it in this Paper in 1968: But here again, we find that Alcoholics Anonymous is not informing its members and other alcoholics about it, causing untold misery to the alcoholics and their families.
    I hope Oxfam takes the initiative of informing all Social Organizations working with women about the Vitamin B-3 Therapy, as women are the best persons who would be able to help the alcoholics to recover with this vitamin therapy, thus ending their own misery as well.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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