Is there really any helpline available for women in India?
Next day I spoke to this relative asking if her neighbor got any help, she responded back in a sad “no”; in fact the lady was beaten badly by her husband that night and went through hell lot of physical torture. Now some relatives had come to sort out the matter and asked neighbors to not interfere in husband-wife relationship with the same clichéd logic – doosre ke ghar mein aaplog mat boliye, pati-patni ka maamla hai, aapas mein suljha lenge. Phew, when relatives interfere we know how much the decision would be in favor of that lady :(.
But the fact that none of the numbers were reachable / contactable left me totally amazed. Out of curiosity I myself started to check out on some numbers, dialed many including 1091 to see the response & well despite repeated rings nobody picked the phone at all. Dismayed I spoke to few of my friends asking if they know of any number which a woman can call in India in case of any such urgency and nobody knew of even one responsible number at all. I also read lots of coverages on women related helpline in different states, NGOs, online initiatives like “Bell Bajao” etc but what left me surprised was the actual execution of all these initiatives and on ground presence of such bodies. Out of all these I definitely found “Bell Bajao” website & wiki page to be bit helpful but then aren’t those info actually limited to internet savvy women who can surf internet & read them online? What about those women who are not online, who are not from metro cities & are not educated enough to write mails etc to NGOs? Now this was a case of domestic violence, how about instances of stalking, theft, rapes etc.? Can help arrive at the moment of need? Is there really any authentic helpline for women? I’ve no answer…In case you know of any such number or have got help from concerned authorities in times of need, do share your experiences along with contact details of such helping authorities. If I get some details, I would definitely like to compile such list & pass it onto all the women I know.