Hi all! I know a few people have logged on to see what’s up and it has been a few..
I am in my last week and to say the trip has been an eye opening journey doesn’t suffice. The truth of the matter is that I have learned the art of compartmentalizing to make it the last few weeks- I didn’t realize it until tonight. Almost every day for the last three weeks I have had daily conversations about gender violence with lawyers in the Supreme court, day to day lawyers, NGO’s, citizens of random faith and age and of course, the survivors. I would love to tell you that I am walking away thinking my initial impression that something is really wrong isn’t, but I can’t. Time and time again I have heard young girls tell me where they are from (very often not too terribly far outside of the major cities) they had no idea things like rape and beatings with metal rods was out of the ordinary. As they grew into women they just thought this was part of what women endure.
Now no this is not all women and as I say what’s above and god knows what’s to come I want to be very clear- this is simply what I have bore witness to hearing. Take that and throw in a few human rights lawyers and UN Women saying much of the same and indeed, I believe the research and all these women and organizations are speaking the truth.
I have zero idea what the solution is. I had an opportunity this coming week to travel 4+ hours each way to this man’s house who attacked his wife and daughter with acid 20 years ago and they all still live together, still with domestic disputes. He did no time and is accepted by his community. Apparently he is so unashamed he is willing to be photographed and interviewed (although I was told they would need to check just before in case there was a current dispute happening). I wanted to take this interview badly as I would really like to hear just once from an actual attacker. But here’s what’s happened: I am burnt out.
About an hour after I settled into my room and started charging my equipment and checking back ups (this is what I do every night on cue :), I started having an “uh oh” kind of feeling. My legs are achy and I have the chills.. have a slight concern about the mosquito issue happening in Delhi at the moment. Delhi hospitals are overrun due to a variety of mosquito borne illnesses right now. It’s probably just that I am overwhelmed but we’ll see soon enough.
Wish I had a better note to leave this on. Okay I can say this. These women blow my mind and we have a lot to learn from them. As I write this I realize I need to put out a blog as to what exactly that is. I probably need to do so after I have had proper sleep, food, etc. They are amazing and the NGO’s who support them are as well. There is a real problem here (and of course elsewhere) and we can help by helping the NGO’s on the ground. We can help but getting doctors to donate their time to doing reconstructive surgeries (especially eyes). We can help in lots of ways.
To start, should you like to look into it or give a donation today, check out the links below. I will absolutely share on this blog items that get published and stories on and portraits of the women. If all these mosquito bites lead to dengue I will blog about that too;). I am realizing this isn’t my last blog.. probably just my last blog in India.
NGO’s making a difference:
Make Love Not Scars: makelovenotscars.org
Stop Acid Attacks: stopacidattacks.org