As readers of this blog and Bideshi Blue know, I have been very interested in issues of violence against women, in particular, domestic violence in Bangladesh and where ever Bangladeshi women migrate as students, wives, and family members as well as in the USA. I have encouraged readers to learn more and reach out to one another and give support to organizations within their own communities. I'm very excited by a new website, Out Against Abuse, started in January 2008 to educate and organize the South Asian community in USA against gender abuse-domestic violence through information, interviews with activists, and comments-participation by readers. Please go to this blogsite, bookmark it, and read through the posts to date. The most recent post is a very informative interview with Dr. Nusrat Ameen, law professor, activist, and author of Wife Abuse in Bangladesh: An Unrecognized Offence, UPL, 2005.
The co-founders, Sabrin Chowdhury, executive director and Raj Gupta, technology director, provide their mission statement. They looking for more interviews with activists, commentary on gender abuse, information about events and resources. You can contact Out Against Abuse: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact them!
In the following from this blogsite, Sabrin Chowdhury writes about the purpose of Out Against Abuse:
Educating Our Community: Taking the First Step Against Gender Abuse
“Two out of five South Asian women have experienced partner violence, a rate disproportionately higher than that of other minority groups,” – www.dayahouston.org.
Domestic violence is defined as “a pattern of abusive behavior which keeps one partner in a position of power over the other partner through the use of fear, intimidation, and control*,” and is an ongoing problem that continues to plague women from all around the world. South Asian women tend to suffer from problems of gender abuse at a much more severe rate than other races; however, the topic of domestic violence is one that is rarely discussed in the South Asian community.
The problem stems from the fact that many of us do not realize how vast the effects of abuse can be and how instances of domestic violence have a grave impact on many other problems in our community. Unfortunately domestic violence is not an issue of the past and is not limited to just rural and economically disadvantaged women in South Asian countries. More and more we hear about incidents of violence committed against highly educated and independent women. In many instances these women feel forced to stay in abusive relationships due to the societal stigma that comes from failed marriages or relationships and the lack of awareness of how to deal with domestic violence in general. Many people also wrongly believe abuse to only refer to physical violence. However, domestic abuse includes physical, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, creating an atmosphere of fear and despair for the victim.
I believe that the first step in putting an end to gender abuse is educating ourselves and our community. Out Against Abuse is a blog based website devoted to discussing the issues surrounding domestic violence and gender based abuse in the South Asian community. The blog will be updated with articles discussing key women’s issues and also with interviews conducted with various activists working to combat domestic abuse. This forum was created to increase awareness and discussion in the South Asian community about gender based abuse. The more we become conscious and educated about the issue, the harder we can work at ending violence against women. But for that we need your thoughts, comments, and collaboration to spread the word in our community.
With that, I leave you with the question: What actions can we exactly take to educate our community and put a stop to violence against women? Whether the impact is great or small, how can we all do our part to end violence?