By Vidya Pradhan
Kiranjit Ahluwalia (see our ‘Provoked’ review) had had access to the people at Narika, perhaps the movie could have stayed in the realm of fiction. Unfortunately stories like hers are far too common and all we can do is be grateful that Narika and other such organizations are around to offer a helping hand to victims of domestic violence. When Narika first began offering their services, they faced considerable backlash from the community and were looked at as rah-rah feminists who were out to break homes. Gradually the doors to the community have cracked open a little. However, the vociferous denial of the existence of domestic violence has been replaced by silence, as the model minority is still uncomfortable with the spotlight Narika shines on the dark underside. “People are convinced only when they hear an actual survivor speak,” says Atashi. If the first 15 years were devoted to helping victims of domestic violence, the goal for the next 15 years is prevention. “The best way we can do it is to involve men,” says Atashi. Narika is launching a men’s volunteer program where we are going to be educating leaders in the community to talk to other men about how to end domestic violence. They want to educate the young men who will be the next generation of husbands, making sure they get the message clearly before they get married on what an equal relationship looks like. To avail of Narika’s resources or to offer your help and support, check out their website. Their toll free help line is 1-800-215-7308.