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" The winds of grace are blowing all the time. You have only to raise your sail."

- Sri Ramakrishna

The issues around both Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS penetrate every sphere level of Indian Society. It runs rampant among the poor but being of a high cast does not assure protection, nor does marriage. In fact wife battering is often considered a right of the husband and his family. None of this is new or news but the level at which gender violence is finally being discussed is, and gives hope to those for whom silence was the only recourse. Even now Violence Against Women is not taken seriously and hardly ever considered a crime. Filing a battery report with authorities can actually further victimizes the victim. Authorities seldom take the complaints seriously since there are “family matters” not for public consumption. Reports of battering may be thought to bring shame on the family and thus women who muster the courage to report their abuse may incur further abuse.

Not only is domestic violence not considered a crime, it is also not counted as a health risk though in places like Mumbai it is one of the primary reasons for women to both visit Emergency Rooms and seek hospital admissions. Rape is prevalent in India both in and outside of the family. This rape extends into the brothel districts where sex workers suffer unbelievable levels of violence and violation. HIV/AIDS goes hand in hand with violence. Often wives are subject o sex with husbands who seek recreational sex either travelling or in local brothel districts and bring HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases home. It is not uncommon for the wife, though she may only have had sex with her husband, is blamed for bringing AIDS into the family. Thus the cycle of violence and HIV is perpetuated.

Intersect has begun to begun to work with many exciting NGOs and grass roots organizations tits work in India with the establishment of three Intersect Coalitions, each developing and implementing doing innovative and passion driven work actions, projects and campaigns. There are currently Intersect Coalitions in India in the states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and West Bengal.

Coalition Building Sessions were held in Jaipur, Kolkata, and Mumbai. Reports and narratives about each Coalition will appear soon.


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