is both a women’s rights and animal’s rights activist and has been working in these fields for a considerable period of time now.  Her blog is a small contribution to the causes she supports wholeheartedly.  She started it to bring to light the abuse that a lot of women face at home but keep silent about because they do not want to create trouble. No woman deserves to live in fear and it has to be brought to light that there always some help when you need it. 

She also wants to highlight the sad plight of Mumbai’s abused stray dogs. She has done several drives to actually help them, feed them, and find them homes. 

You can contact her and check out many of her articles at – http://christinascorner.in/
As a Fellow Enthusiast, I have decided to post a few of her articles on my blog. I believe every life deserves happiness, and she is trying her best to add to the cause.
What do you do when the man next door is beating his wife?
a)      Close the windows and turn up the volume on the T.V.
b)      Squirm, but tell yourself that it is no use interfering.
It is simpler not to do anything, and that is exactly what Christina Lobo Jha did until a new initiative to end domestic violence gave her a third option – Ring the Bell or Bell Bajao.
Launched by the international human rights organization Breakthrough, the multimedia Bell Bajao campaign aims to convey a clear message: it is always wrong to ignore domestic violence. Walk up and ring that doorbell like Christina did.
“There is a woman in my building who goes to hell and back once a week while all the neighbors sit quietly in their flats, pretending to have heard nothing.  One day the screaming and crying started at 8 am and stopped when her husband left for work at about 10 am. Come 8 pm, the husband was back home, and it started again. By 1 am, the screams were louder than ever.  She was groaning because she could not cry anymore.  It was then that I marched upstairs with my dog Kelly and I rang the bell!
Her husband shooed my dog out and told me not to interfere, but she caught my hand and lifted up her nightie.  I could not see a single place where she was left unhurt.  She had bruises all over her body.  I told her to stop crying and go in and sleep.  She left and went inside the bedroom and shut the door on her husband.  It was dark in the living room, but I could make out her two teenage children sitting in the corner, watching everything coolly.  I have not heard any more screams, and I hope it stays that way. I will not hesitate to ring the bell again…and the cops too”.
For many, a stranger’s intervention can be the first step in breaking the cycle of violence at home. “It is a signal that people know what is happening inside your home and that they are capable of taking action.  Any excuse will do for showing up at the door. In the television advertisement, film star Boman Irani, rings the bell and asks, “Kya main ek phone kar sakta hoon (Can I make a phone call)?” The next second, his own cell phone that is in his shirt pocket rings, and the offender’s expression clearly shows he has got the message.
The Turning Point: Christina Speaks
I was born and brought up outside India and had never witnessed any violence or ill treatment against women while I was there.  It was there too I guess; it’s just that I had not witnessed it.  When I came to Lucknow after marriage, I was totally taken aback by the way women got treated by men. Most men just gave orders minus any love or respect for the wife.  It disturbed me a lot.
When I came to Mumbai in 2006, I realized that things were the same in this city as well.  I had been teaching music then, and I gradually started interacting with the mothers of the kids from the neighborhood.  Somehow, the women who faced violence at home confided in me about the domestic violence they faced, at the hands of their in-laws and their husbands.  I decided to do volunteer work with these victims and came across 15 such women in my own building in the last 4 years.
Incidentally, during the same time, the ministry of women and child development, along with the non-profit organisation Breakthrough initiated a campaign against domestic violence called Bell Bajao. The campaign urged local residents to bring a halt to domestic violence through simple acts. One just had to ring the doorbell to indicate to the oppressor that he was being watched. I realized that even though ringing the doorbell was a small act, it worked!
Fighting for a woman’s cause
During the campaign, it came to my knowledge that the various NGOs involved in this campaign also help people fight against domestic violence in a bigger way. Breakthrough offered me a study programme.  They sent me books for an advocacy course that contained laws on women’s rights and information on tackling cases related to domestic violence.  This encouraged me to pursue such cases actively.
Breakthrough
In the case above, the man understood that he could not continue this anymore.  He stopped abusing her physically and verbally.  She got a job and got her life under control.  He never hit her again.  In another case, the husband was involved in an extra marital affair. His wife had learnt about it, and whenever she confronted him about the affair he would beat her.  She had to get stitches on her head on one occasion because of it. The divorce came through recently, and she got ownership of the flat and custody of the child. She has made amends with her husband now, and has a good job to sustain herself and her child.
Some dark revelations 
During my work against domestic violence I realized that even though some women may be dripping with diamonds on the outside, on the inside they lead a life of cruelty.  Indian society ‘worships’ the woman in the form of God, but in the practical sense, a lot of women are treated like a piece of furniture…  disposable and an unpaid servant to many people.  The problem also lie with the parents of some women.  Most think once the daughter is married, they are officially no longer their responsibility.  They want her to be with the husband at all costs.  On the other hand, many women do not want to let their parents know about the violence they face. Still many do not want to help other women in breaking through the violence. They stay in the same society, and talk about inconsequential things, but never about the abuse dished out to them by their in-laws or husband.
Reach out 
Whenever a woman shares her case with me, the first step is to counsel her and try and understand the situation. If it is her problem, make her understand the issue in hand. If it is the husband’s fault, try talking to the couple and try to settle things mutually. When things seem to be beyond control, and the situation turns violent not only for her, but also for the kids, then there is no other hope but a separation, and a woman ought to get a divorce then. However, that decision is entirely hers.  If she decides to stay in an abusive situation, then she has to face the consequences.
No one deserves to feel frightened in their own home.
Press mentions:

Are you a victim of domestic violence?  Do you need help?

Christina can help. You can contact her via her blog – 
Written by Poorna Banerjee

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  1. poorna banerjee 2013-01-25 at 8:27 pm Reply

    She is an inspiration all right. I will post more about her work later.

  2. Pout Pretty 2013-01-22 at 8:48 am Reply

    Hats off to you Christina..you are truly an inspiration

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