In observance of International Women’s Day, Bangalore International Centre has arranged a series of programmes in 2013. As the kick-off programme it had arranged a panel discussion on “Violence Against Women: An Indian Or Global Narrative” on Monday, 28th January, 2013 at 6.30 pm at its auditorium. Ms. Donna Stewart, The Lillian Love Chair in Women’s Health at the University Health Network and the University of Toronto and Mrs. Donna Fernandes, Co-Founder of Vimochana, Bangalore were the core panelists. The discussion was moderated by Mrs. NupurBasu, Senior Journalist and Independent documentary filmmaker.
In a free-wheeling discussion with Mrs. Nupurbasu, Ms. Donna Stewert emphasized that violence against women was not exclusive to India, but was actually a world-wide phenomenon. However, she felt that brutalization of the victim during and after sexual assault/violence was something very typical and unique in India. Mrs. NupurBasu pointed out that this was strictly not correct and quoted several instances of brutalization and violence which had taken place in other parts of World, including the “developed” countries. Mrs. Donna Fernandes quoted extensively from her own experience as an activist, and from reports in public domain to stress that the mindset in the patriarchal society and the official machinery has made the position of women extremely vulnerable and that, unless there is a change in the mindset, there would be only periodical knee-jerk reactions and no systemic change.
The interactive session was lively. The general consensus was that governance must improve to provide security, support and speedy justice to women and that every section of the society should facilitate the systemic changes needed.