Target: Sampat Pal Devi, Founder of the Gulabi Gang
Goal: Commend the Gulabi Gang for creating a group focused on women’s empowerment and protecting women from domestic violence.
Unlike women in the United States, women in many third world countries women do not have the right to speak their mind and protect their bodies. The Gulabi Gang, a group of women located in northern India who were angered by abusive men, set out to “punish oppressive husbands, fathers and brothers, and combat domestic violence and desertion.”
The Gulabi Gang was founded in 2006 after Sampat Pal Devi tried to help a woman who was being beaten by her husband. After unsuccessfully pleading with the man to stop, she came back the next day with five other women, bamboo sticks in hand, and gave the man a “sound thrashing.” Soon after, women begged Sampat Pal Devi to help them tame their wild husbands and the Gulabi Gang was established.
In Uttar Pradesh, where the Gulabi Gang was established, according to UNICEF’s editorial “Domestic Violence against Women and Children,” 45% of married men “acknowledged physically abusing their wives, according to a 1996 survey of 6,902 men in the state of Uttar Pradesh.” This abuse harms women both emotionally and physically. An additional study quoted in the editorial states that “women who had been beaten [in Uttar Pradesh] were significantly more likely than non-abused women to have had a pregnancy loss from abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth, or to have lost an infant.”
The Gulabi Gang is a group of women dressed in pink saris who “protect the powerless from abuse, fight corruption to ensure basic rights of the poor in rural areas and discourage traditions like child-marriages.” By training women in defensive skills with the aid of a dried bamboo stick, the Gulabi Gang seeks to “support and train women to enhance their basic skills to become economically secure and develop confidence to protect themselves from abuse through sustainable livelihood options.” Today the women have extended their aid to people below the poverty line, the elderly, and even men.
Sign below to congratulate the Gulabi Gang for becoming a powerful women’s group within an urban patriarchal society.
Dear Sampat Pal Devi,
In a country were women have limited rights and are subjected to abuse by men, I applaud you and the Gulabi Gang for creating a group to protect the women of Uttar Pradesh from domestic violence. Women around the world experience domestic violence every day. By creating a group such as the Gulabi Gang, you have inspired women to force change within their communities.
I hope that other women throughout the world find your group inspirational and strive to create their own women’s empowerment groups. I look forward to seeing the Gulabi Gang develop in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: McKay Savage via Flickr