Rashmi Anand withstood violence from her husband for 10 years she would wear Chinese-collared kurtas during Delhi's summers to hide her bruises. There came a time when she decided she would not take this anymore. She left her husband and her violence-ridden life; and with her two children, began life anew. Today, she writes books for children and adults, and counsels women who report cases to the Delhi Police Crime Against Women Cell, the Lawyers' Collective and the NGO Safer India.
After appearing on the Domestic Violence episode, she received so many calls for help that she decided to set up a free legal aid service for economically disadvantaged survivors of violence. Here, she speaks of her journey.
“As we walk through life, there are certain milestones that catapult us ahead. Satyamev Jayate has done that for me. The visibility it has brought has helped me reach out to many more women.
In the month just after the telecast, many approached me. People living abroad suggested that relatives caught in abusive relationships speak with me.
At a personal level I realised that I should do something more tangible. The women who were coming to me needed more than a 'Beta, theek ho jaayega' (Things will be alright), especially since many could not afford legal fees.
Therefore, I set up the Woman of the Elements Trust (because that is what every woman should be—a woman of the elements!) and went around to everyone I knew with a begging bowl. I received a small amount but it was a start. A friend gifted me an old laptop, I hired two lawyers and we started giving free legal aid and psychological counselling to victims of violence and abuse who were economically disadvantaged. Today, we are fighting 36 cases, all for free, and have counselled 46 women.
Many women and men also came forward and volunteered their time to our initiative. I have learned that if you want to make a change, you must speak out, not just point fingers, but speak your truth. There are many who will listen. And many more will come together with you to carry that truth forward.”