Ms. Jyoshna Sahoo, Senior Program Manager, aaina shares her experience of 3 weeks exposure visit to the U.S.A. on Gender based Violence, Indo-Pak exchange program coordinated by U.S. Counsel. The exposure was an experience to learn about different programs and mechanisms to manage gender based violence as well as get familiarized with cultural values and working style of the country. One of the biggest surprises for Ms. Jyoshna was high prevalence of domestic violence in a country like U.S.A. "I had a notion that, USA being so advanced and having educated and Independent people, presence of domestic violence and sexual abuse issues should not be so rampant. But surprisingly the percentage is very high."
The visit was planned in a way so that visitors get exposure on management of gender based violence at central, state, district level and also meet the victims and listen to their experiences. Ms. Jyoshna appreciated different civil society organizations addressing the issue of sexual and domestic violence, support mechanism they get from the state parties, and different hotlines present statewide. She was especially impressed by the working strategy of "No More Tears" organization in Miami where all the services were provided under one roof and the passion and dedication that the staff was embedded with.
Where on one hand Ms. Jyoshna appreciated the systematic and well coordinated approach of the country to handle the issue of gender based violence she felt lack of "Community approach" and more of "Institutional" remedies to resolve the issue. This was different from India where victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse cope up with their family or community is involved to accommodate victims. She also felt that where in India Gender Based Violence is reflected in different forms where cultural differences between males and females begin from very early on, in the U.S. Gender Based Violence is restricted to sexual violence and domestic violence. Besides, learning about the U.S. culture, through exchange programmed the visitors from India and Pakistan could learn both from each other's culture, attitude, laws and policies, bottle necks at implementation level etc.
As far as applicability in professionalism from her experience is concerned, Ms. Jyoshna is geared to be more systematic, more punctual, and confident in taking up new challenges. She is eager to further facilitate/motivate others to adopt certain good practices related to the subject such as one stop crisis center, coordination & network between service providers. Moreover, the visit served as a good platform to network with different sets of people in terms of networking, fund raising and knowledge sharing.