Initially when the members of MJAS began discussing issues related to sexual violence and rape against women, they were surprised that violence was accepted by most women as given (destiny). Many women believed that husbands have the right to be violent. Others asserted that, “Since he feeds me and my children he can beat me.” The MJAS orgnaised a Public hearing (Jan Sunwai) in collaboration with Mahila Atyachar Virodhi Manch to understand the underpinnings of gender based violence.
The effort was aimed at getting an insight into the textures of various forms of GBV existing in society and the socio- legal and other institutional mechanisms which make access to justice so difficult for women. The public hearing revealed an alarming fact that the institutions of family, community, caste groups, police, medico- legal mechanisms through which redressal is sought in cases of violence against women (VAW) are very often steeped in patriarchy and become perpetrators of violence themselves. The members realized that to bring a shift in a scenario where most women accepted violence as given to an altered situation where they begin to raise their voice against the violence meted out to them; the collective struggle had to be much stronger than it was. The all out effort to achieve this, has perhaps been a major landmark for the Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti.