Domestic violence no longer a private issue: NGO

Apna Ghar is US transitional shelter serving Asian domestic violence victims.

Chicago: Domestic violence is no longer a private issue as more and more people recognise their rights and feel comfortable to talk about it, a city-based NGO working for domestic abuse victims, has said.

"The denial of domestic abuse and resistance to help is slowly disappearing," Surinder Nand, President `Apna Ghar`, which provides culturally-appropriate, multilingual services to domestic abuse victims with a primary focus on the South Asian and other immigrant communities, said.

"Over the years, people have recognised their basic inherent rights regarding domestic violence -- something which women were afraid to voice or come out in the open about," Nand said during NGO`s 20th anniversary celebration.

"We have noticed that our clients, in addition to requests for legal aid, counselling etc, are requesting help with basic needs. We have also noticed that our communities are more aware of domestic violence issues," she said.

`Apna Ghar` deals with domestic abuse survivors while addressing the special needs and challenges of immigrants from the African and South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Asia. It also serves people from Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Iran, and the white community.

Established in December 1989, Apna Ghar was the first transitional shelter serving Asian domestic violence victims in the United States.

The guest of honor at the event was Margaret Abraham, who is a professor of sociology , said "Domestic violence has moved from being a private issue to a public issue due to the emergence of organisations like Sakhi, Manavi and other organisations in US," Abraham said.

"In the 1980s and 1990s domestic violence issues were much more private. These organizations gave the issue visibility. There are more women asking for services. It is not because violence has increased but because more people feel comfortable to access these organizations," Abraham added.

"Due to the organisations` achievements more and more domestic violence cases are being reported," Abraham noted.