The Aim of Courts of Women is ‘Towards violence-free homes, a violence free society, and a violence-free world’
The History: The Courts of Women evolved with the involvement of AWHRC and El Taller International. Beginning in the 1992 in Pakistan, China, Japan, covered South East Asia, Africa, the Arab World, Latin America, the Pacific, and the US. Corinne Kumar of CIEDS/Vimochana spearheaded this concept. She took it to the world with her team even to the extent of organizing The World Court of Women. It can be accessed in the web. The Courts of Women question the very foundations of the systems which are inherently violent. It is important to note at the outset that The Courts of Women is not a Forum for Justice. It is the vast SILENCE that surrounds it; it is the silence that speaks. That silence is the huge Violence that surrounds women. We think violence against women is perfectly natural and normal in our Society. We think it is natural for a husband to beat his wife to subjugate her in myriad ways. We too accept and endorse the huge silence, the gross violence. Something somewhere, is terribly wrong. We have to find new ways to understand the old issues. The old ways use only the head and provide no place for the heart. We have to start our search for new ways to justice, new concept of justice. We have to listen in new ways to their pain, see their struggles of courage with new eyes, struggle to resist violence and to survive. It is a sacred space that we bring to the centre of the Court of Women. The testifiers don’t have to prove their veracity, we know only the truth is spoken. The violence is the violation of a relationship. What are the roots of violence? Two main voices, are heard, that of the Victims, and that of the Analytical Experts. The Jury shows new Ways to justice, of what could be done.
Courts of Women is an attempt to create an Alternate Justice System to address violence. The workshops takes up the different laws of the country that address violations of women’s rights and try to understand the inadequacies of the law and what remedies we need to seek to overcome the limitations. So far 8 training programmes in preparation for the Courts of Women have been conducted under PARA Organization. 20 organizations collaborated with the effort.
365 people have participated in the training. 75% of the participants were integrated Child Development staff members. They were specially invited as they are influential stakeholders in issues related to women and children. 4 divisional level courts of women were scheduled across the state of Andhra Pradesh – Rajahmundry in July, Peddapuram in August, Amalapuram in October, Ramapchodavaram in December and the final one at Kakinada in March 2016.