The group that calls itself Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) believes in service-oriented work and shies away from the media so as not to be taken as just another NGO on the lookout for publicity or donations.
Predominantly using Facebook as a platform for operations so far, the group now aims at turning into a physical organisation and the core team is looking for more support from the city.
“We are looking for empathy in people. It is the general notion to think that nothing bad will happen to you, until it does. And people are apathetic towards victims of violence,” points out Indrani Sarkar, founding member of the group, who also moonlights as an entrepreneur and freelance journalist. Indrani has been a victim of domestic violence herself and has fought back.
Although her struggles were comparatively lightened by the fact that she was a journalist, she found that not many NGOs or help groups in the city, including the Bengali Samithi and the Mahila Samithi, are really reaching out to people.
Indrani insists, however, that personal experience has nothing to do with her dedication to the cause. “While women in India accept a bad marriage as fate, society also has a lot to do with the way victims of rape and molestation are perceived.
My personal struggle was tough, but I am doing this for other women and this has always been my calling,” explains Indrani, who runs a PR and event company called Riaan Enterprise.
The money from her business goes directly to EVAW. Indrani started work at home with her first case of rescue being her maid who refused to fight back against her alcoholic husband.
Through the years, Indrani has managed to garner an army of supporters, but not without the equal and opposite force of foes.
“People say that Indrani is jobless. Or they comment that since I have faced it, I am making a big deal. Sometimes, I feel all alone fighting against the world.
That why I am constantly looking for support,” she shares. She started the initiative with her sister Debjani Sarkar, who as an advocate helped with the legal aspects of cases. Indrani also managed to get the support of the defence attorney in her divorce case.
Another important member of the core team, Debatri Ray, owner of Sazio restaurant in Hitec city, says that working with the group has changed her life. “My entire perspective on the issue of violence against women has changed.”