Cases of domestic violence top the list of crimes against women in the Millennium City, says a group of social workers. The Damini helpline, a private initiative in Gurgaon to help women in distress, receives about 10 calls daily, most of which pertain to domestic violence in urban households.
Following the Delhi gang-rape case in December last year, a group of 22 real estate developers in the city formed Real Estate Development Council Haryana (REDCO-Haryana) to help make Gurgaon a safer city for women and preventing crime against women. At the same time, the helpline (9266861111) was also initiated, employing a set of volunteers from DLF, Unitech, Emaar MGF and others.
“We receive maximum calls relating to domestic violence. A majority of these women don’t want police involvement as they do not want family matters to be discussed in public,” Minakshi Sharma, chief coordinator of REDCO-Haryana, told Hindustan Times.
“Though the police helpline receives more calls, they have now started transferring a few calls to us when the women ask for personal counselling and do not seek police involvement. The police helpline for women (1091) receives more than 80 calls every day,” added Sharma.
The helpline received maximum calls from the urban areas of New Gurgaon till about a month ago.
Taking cue from the observations, REDCO initiated an awareness movement in three villages near DLF City Phase I —Nathupur, Chakkarpur and Sikanderpur — to involve the rural population as well. However, following a few camps held at different schools, the villagers allegedly grew suspicious of the group’s activities. “The men thought we were trying to instigate the women against them,” said Minakshi Sharma. The campaign was then called off and the organisation started providing family counselling to women.
The group shifted focus from counselling women individually to discussing issues with the entire family to avoid feelings of resentment.
“We thought it would be wiser if the entire family sat together to clear misunderstandings as we did not want the women to be in trouble because of us. So now we have only family sessions,” said REDCO-Haryana president Rohit Mallik.
Sharma said the Damini helpline also received various calls regarding other issues, including marital problems, women being harassed and elderly women being troubled by their families.