Ruchi Singh is an inspiring domestic violence survivor, International Keynote Speaker, Mindset Coach and YouTuber. In an exclusive interview with Priya Florence Shah, publisher of Naaree.com, she talks about her experiences, inspiring life lessons and her goal of becoming a change agent for other survivors.
Keynote Speaker And Mindset Coach, Ruchi Singh On Surviving Abuse And Inspiring Survivors
“I own my life and I help others to own theirs.”
When I read this powerful line I just knew I had to meet the person behind it. That’s how I connected with Ruchi Singh and I’m so glad I did. I never guessed that behind her gentle smile was someone who’s overcome the kind of hardship and trauma that few people can bounce back from.
But once I heard her inspirational story I knew that I had to share it with you. So, I’m very happy and excited to introduce to you, my friend, Ruchi Singh, an International Keynote Speaker, Mindset Coach and YouTuber, on my show Naaree Talk. I know you will draw your own courage and inspiration from her story of survival.
Domestic Violence Facts In India
Domestic violence and abuse in India is not just a problem of the lower and middle classes. It is very prevalent even among prominent and famous people too.
The signs of domestic violence (DV) are not always obvious and a lot of women don’t report that they’re being abused. Even the woman’s own family is not always supportive at such times, because of the shame and guilt that surrounds such issues. Another concern that women face is how to prove domestic violence in India.
But, there is hope for women as there are strong laws against domestic violence and abuse in India. Domestic violence Indian kanoon gives a lot of power to women. And yes, there are always some opportunistic women who will try to abuse the legal system by misusing the domestic violence act of India.
But just because people sometimes misuse the law does that mean we should not have laws? After all the statistics of domestic violence by husbands in India are horrific.
According to the National Family Health Survey (NHFS-4) released by the Union health ministry, every third woman, since the age of 15, has faced domestic violence of various forms in the country. Most of the times perpetrators of this violence have been the husbands.
The survey also found that 31% of married women have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their spouses. The most common type of spousal violence is physical violence (27%), followed by emotional violence (13%).
The survey did not even mention economic abuse as domestic violence in India, even though that is a significant type of abuse among domestic violence victims in India.
The domestic violence facts in India are truly horrifying and merit a serious discussion into the mind of the Indian abuser, the learned helplessness of the abused woman and how to provide domestic violence support and legal help to domestic violence survivors.
On Sep 4, 2015, a Times of India news report stated that the Bombay high court set aside that part of a state government circular which prohibited counselling and mediation in domestic violence cases without a court order.
What this means is that domestic violence cases can now be resolved out of court, with the help of NGOs, counsellors and police, who will be allowed to counsel a woman “with regard to the course of action which she can take including joint counselling/mediation with her spouse/husband or her family members/in-laws.”
The guidelines further state that a violated woman must be informed about her right to choose her future course of action and that she must be guided with regard to her legal rights under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
Interview With a Domestic Violence Counsellor
The television series, Big Little Lies, covers the cycle of violence in a way that everyone can understand and highlights the role that a supportive and compassionate counsellor plays in helping victims of domestic violence.
Naaree.com caught up with Barkha Bajaj, the Executive Director and Head counsellor for Aks Foundation, which specializes in domestic violence counselling in India and helps abused women deal with domestic violence situations in Pune.
In this interview, she outlines the options available to women suffering from domestic violence in India.
How severe is the problem of domestic violence in India?
It is quite severe – 80% of our calls are of domestic violence. Also, a lot of violence in India is not looked at as violence. As it is a patriarchy a lot of violence against women is expected and accepted.
What has been your experience with women who call in for help with domestic violence situations?
They need support more than anything else. There is a lot of self-blame, confusion, guilt and shame as they love their partners but are also fed up. A lot of them feel helpless and hopeless as they feel stuck in their situations.
How do the Aks Foundation and other organisations go about helping such women? What kind of support can women look to you for?
We provide 24/ 7 support through our crisis lines. Within Pune, we also provide legal support and advocacy where our volunteers go with the domestic violence survivors to the hospital or police station.
One line is dedicated to domestic violence counselling services. We also liaise with other NGOs or look for other domestic violence legal services in India if the call is outside Pune.
What is your advice to women who are suffering from domestic violence and dowry demands? What is the first thing they should do when faced with such a situation?
If they want to leave, the law is strong and they should use legal channels. However, the first thing is to tell someone they can trust and get support. Don’t hide it and suffer alone.
How can women be aware of signs of controlling men and those prone to Domestic Violence? Can we take clues from how his parents treat one another?
Well, there are red flags for eg:
- Extreme jealousy
- Isolating behaviours
- Controlling- who she sees, what she wears
- Intimidation and threats
- Emotional manipulation- making you feel guilty all the time
Power and control wheels are available online – which show you strategies used by perpetrators. (You can download a printable copy of the power and control wheel here to help you understand what you’re going through)
Women often overlook red flags, thinking they can change the man once they are married to him. What would you like to tell such women?
We can only change ourselves and we cannot change someone else unless they want to change. Trying to rescue and change someone is a lost battle.
What change in mindset is required, for women and their families, to avoid getting into a situation involving domestic violence?
Education – gender sensitization, talking about gender in general and gender-based violence. This should be part of all school curriculum.
What parting advice would you like to give young unmarried women in India?
Know the signs of power and control. Domestic Violence is about power and control so be aware. Also, if you feel in your gut it’s a bad decision – get counselling. Also, financial independence is important. 🙂
See our related post: Working Women Less Prone To Domestic Violence, Say Legal Experts
Helplines For Domestic Violence In India
In this post below, we’ve tried to provide some numbers of helplines for domestic violence in India. These do not cover all geographies, but if your city or town is not listed below, you can contact the National Commission for Women (NCW) in Delhi.
And yes, we know that men are victims of domestic violence. As inspiring domestic violence survivor and mindset coach, Ruchi Singh states, “When you go through pain, you realise that pain has no gender.”
These numbers may be labelled as women’s domestic violence helpline in India, but they should also work as men’s domestic violence helplines in India because violence does not distinguish between its victims.
Domestic Violence Helpline In Pune
For women involved in a situation of Domestic Violence in Pune, please contact the helpline of the Aks Foundation in Pune below. They are available 24/7.
Aks Helpline Numbers: 8793088814 to talk to our volunteers anytime.
For legal advice, call: 8793088815
For psychological counselling, call: 8793088816.
The following organisations can be contacted in Delhi:
Women’s Organisations In Delhi
Shakti Shalini: 1091/ 1291 (011) 23317004
Shakti Shalini Women’s Shelter: (011) 24373736/ 24373737
SAARTHAK: (011) 26853846/ 26524061
All India Women’s Conference: 10921/ (011) 23389680
JAGORI: (011) 26692700
Joint Women’s Programme (also has branches in Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai: (011) 24619821
Dial 1091 for Women’s Helpline in Bangalore/Bengaluru
Toll-Free No: 1091 (24/7)
Established in 1999 by the Bengaluru City Police, Vanitha Sahayavani provides immediate rescue and support for women in distress.
Accessible through toll-free number 1091, Vanitha Sahayavani provides free tele-counselling, police assistance, crisis intervention, services in case of domestic violence, harassment and abuse. Vanitha Sahayavani operates from the Office of The Commissioner of Police – 24/7.
DIAL 1298 for Women’s Helpline in Mumbai
DIAL 1298 Women Helpline, a toll-free women-dedicated service managed by Ziqitza Healthcare in Mumbai has successfully helped more than 38,000 women in distress through its network of 80 partner NGOs.
Launched in 2008 with the support of 10 NGOs, DIAL 1298 Women Helpline offers women across socio-economic strata legal, psychological, psychiatric, trauma, medical and other kinds of counselling through its associations with a variety of women-oriented NGOs.
The Helpline addresses a wide range of complaints including dowry harassment, eve teasing, abuse, domestic violence, cybercrime, divorce and maintenance, sexual harassment at the workplace, among others.
This domestic violence helpline was initially launched with the support of 10 NGOs and now works closely with over 80 NGOs in and around Mumbai. DIAL 1298 Women Helpline is a referral helpline service. Any woman who needs help can DIAL 1298 and it will connect to Silver Innings Foundation.
The foundation will refer the caller to an NGO that will either address the issue at hand and provide counselling or negotiate with the family members to resolve the issue. In instances where the woman requires immediate assistance, then the call will be forwarded to 103 Police Helpline.
Himachal Pradesh Helpline Number
Women Commission Phone Number :
All-India Email Helpline
National Commission for Women – The apex national level organization of India with the mandate of protecting and promoting the interests of women.
Member Secretary Email: ms-ncw[at]nic[dot]in
Joint Secretary Email: jsncw-wcd[at]nic[dot]in
National Commission for Women,
Plot No.21, FC33, Jasola Institutional Area,
Working Hours – 9 A.M. to 5:30 P.M.
Working Days – Monday to Friday
What Is Domestic Violence In India?
Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern or cycle of violence. Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. If you’re being abused, read this to understand the pattern you may have fallen into.
The cycle of violence explores why women stay in abusive relationships for reasons beyond low self-esteem, isolation, family pressures and lack of community support.
It describes the phases an abusive relationship moves through in the lead up to a violent event and its follow-up. Read it to understand why women are often reluctant to leave a violent abuser or even admit that they are being abused.
According to The Recovery Village:
If you are involved in an abusive relationship, you may think there’s no way out, but there is, and the dangers of staying can be far worse than those of leaving. Remaining in the toxic, dangerous environment of domestic violence can put your life at risk.
Staying could put others in your life at risk as well. Oftentimes, abusers take their anger out on anyone in their path, even — or especially — children. And aside from the obvious physical dangers of abuse, there are a number of potential emotional consequences to keep in mind for everyone involved, including depression.
YOU need to change before your situation changes
My biggest life lessons have come from the realisation that people treat you the way you ALLOW yourself to be treated and that your relationship with others is a reflection of the relationship you have with yourself.
One step of the cycle of abuse is the fantasy that the abuser will improve. Please understand this – THEY WON’T!
- Don’t live in the false hope that things will get better someday.
- Don’t look to other people to save you from your abuser.
- No one can help you if you’re not willing to help yourself.
- Only YOU can take action on your own behalf – legally and emotionally.
An abusive partner regularly reinforces the idea that you can’t escape, and that you can’t manage without them, because this is what they want you to believe, so they can keep control of you.
Take action now and get out of the situation, with the help of online counselling and a lawyer before you become another domestic violence statistic in India.
Overcome the habit of learned helplessness to achieved greater autonomy and break through the limitations or the beliefs implanted by family and society, that imprison you and keep you from choosing the freedom you deserve.
Find the courage you need and get help leaving an abusive relationship. Courage to leave an abusive relationship is an audio hypnosis session that will help you develop the inner resources you need to free yourself.
If you feel like your life is not in your control, if you feel disempowered and stuck in a cycle of blame and resentment, listen to my Free Empowering Guided Meditation and take back your power to become the master of your fate.
Learn about my new course, Devi 2 Diva: Become A Fierce & Fearless Force For Change. In this course, you’ll learn how to throw off the shackles of your own limiting beliefs, come into your power and design your destiny.
If you are facing domestic abuse, DON’T try to take “revenge” on those who are trying to harm you. It is a futile and endless journey and will leave you and your loved ones much worse off than if you just pick up your things, leave, and focus on building a new life for yourself and your children.
Get a job or build a business or find a work-from-home job, and put all your energies into healing, not into punishing or getting back at your errant spouse. Moving forward and healing your own wounds is the ONLY way to get your life back.
The best “revenge” is to build a successful life without your abuser.
If you’re not yet married or are looking to marry again, read How To Avoid Marrying An Abuser.
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