Boston non-profit Direct Action for Women Now dawns in India, closes out 2016 with success stories

DAWN supports Men Against Violence And Abuse (MAVA)
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BOSTON– Direct Action for Women Now, a Boston-based non-profit organization founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Geeta Aiyer, closed out 2016 with several success stories in 2016.

“Rising gender based violence is a legacy we just can’t leave for our children,” said Geeta Aiyer, founder and board chair of Direct Action for Women Now, known as DAWN. “When policy and positive role models are lacking, the work of activists and educators becomes more critical. DAWN was started to play this critical role.”

DAWN volunteers with Family Planning Association, India

DAWN was born with the efforts of a dedicated group of citizens who came together in 2013, rallying against the horrific 2012 rape incident in Delhi and other campus rape incidents in US and India that outraged the world.

The mission of DAWN, a Boston based non-profit with a 501 (c) (3) status, is to end gender based violence and advance gender equality through education and collaboration. Its team comprises of a group of volunteers committed to building strategies and partnerships to work against this pervasive and prevalent public health and global issue that cuts across all socio economic and cultural boundaries.

DAWN supports Men Against Violence And Abuse (MAVA)

One in three women still experience physical or sexual violence mostly by an intimate partner, DAWN said in a statement, quoting national research and data.

A sign from the Men Against Violence Against Women (MAVAW) project at the Live and Learn Offices. Photo taken by Irene Scott for AusAID. (13/2529)

“In the majority of countries with available data, less than 40 percent of the women who experience violence seek help of any sort. Among women who do, most look to family and friends and very few look to formal institutions and mechanisms, such as police and health services. Less than 10 per cent of those women seeking help for experience of violence sought help by appealing to the police,” the statement said.

2016 was a busy year for DAWN, with several successful and impactful projects in India:

  • ‘Train the Trainer’ Sessions in India: DAWN collaborated with the Center for Enquiry into health and Allied themes (CEHAT) and Family Planning Association (FPAI) India and conducted training sessions to equip frontline healthcare workers with guidelines, knowledge and skills needed to respond in a comprehensive and culturally sensitive way to survivors of gender based violence. DAWN’s approach and response to sexual and gender based violence via integration of these issues into clinical trainings for health care providers was very successful and received great feedback.
  • DAWN’s partnership with “Men Against Violence and Abuse” (MAVA), along with funding support allowed MAVA to:

(1)          create several programs on college campus sensitization

(2)          offer programs to mentor students on gender issues

(3)          create a  documentary film YUVA MAITRI  and short street plays, all designed to bring about a change in attitudes

(4)          run workshops aimed at redefining masculinity and Sexual Harassment issues.

  • DAWN sponsored a discussion in Maharashtra where prominent NGOs and activists participated to discuss a coordinated community response strategy for gender based violence.
DAWN Founder Geeta Aiyer

In the United States, DAWN organized a 2 day ‘Train the Trainer’ program on holistic care for survivors of gender based violence at the NERD center in Cambridge, MA.  Attended by representatives from several organizations in the Boston area and South Asian Women’s organizations from all over the US, the program was conducted by DAWN volunteers Sujata Warrier and Meg Bossong. The program built a close knit team of volunteers trained to address these challenging issues in the US and in India.  In addition to this DAWN has built close ties for collaboration with the Boston Area Rape Crisis, and community initiatives led by the City of Cambridge to address domestic violence, and engage men as allies for gender equity.

The success of these programs has energized the DAWN team that is now ready for 2017 with many strategic partnerships and programs, the statement said.

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