By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 5: The Women Empowerment Desk (WED) of Central Tibetan Administration and Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) on Saturday joined calls against gender-based violence by conducting a flash mob and theatre performances to create awareness around the subject. TWA President Tenzin Dolma told the crowd at McLeod Ganj square, “There are many instances of sexual violence where we try to put the issue under the rug and try to resolve it among ourselves; we need to stop this. There is an immediate need to take responsibility and put an end to violence against women.”
“We are proud to bring this campaign to Dharamshala. Gender-based violence continues to occur at an alarming scale in every country of the world. Too often it is accepted as normal behaviour, shifting this behaviour is hard and slow but gender equality means all of us, and working with all genders is the only way to see true change,” Tsering Kyi from WED spoke on the importance of the initiative.
Following the dance performances by a group of women, the theatre performance by Tibetan actors demonstrated an abusive relationship of a married couple and then juxtaposed the same scenario with another couple that showed a more caring companionship. A live art mural depicting womanhood by artist Jigme Choedak is also underway at the Square since the campaign launched.
As part of their 16-day activism, the desk has also introduced webinar series introducing co-founder of ACHA Himalayan Sisterhood, Dechen Tsering, Director of Tibetan Ability Centre, Delek Wangmo and psychology expert Dr. Kunga Norzom. Menstrual hygiene and support for victims of domestic violence have been among the list of issues the team continues to work on.
The cases of sexual violence and domestic abuse have been discussed on community level through trainings and workshops given by self-help group Drokmo and WED of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Although the exile community is small where most incidents or cases go unresolved mainly due to lack of legal intervention, small steps towards gender sensitization and education around the subject have been undertaken in the last couple of years.
*Please contact WED or Drokmo for any guidance if you are a victim of rape or sexual violence. The CTA supported helpline number for women is 01892220120.