The women were clad in black saris, signifying their strong resentment against instances of sexual harassment, domestic violence and other forms of abuse of the fairer sex.

Some of them held candles while others displayed placards that had slogans against abuse of women. All of them marched silently in neat rows from Fr. Devaiah Auditorium towards Benz Circle, marking the culmination of the inaugural of a two-day Kalayika-Court of Women, at Vijayawada on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, members of Kalayika, a consortium of different women's organisations, gathered at Fr. Devaiah Auditorium to discuss threadbare the different forms of abuse against women and to find out new avenues for justice.

The two-day workshop of the Court of Women is aimed at creating a platform for victims of abuse to make their voices heard before a panel of jury comprising eminent leaders from various walks of life.

“In the court of law, the petitioner's plea is heard based on evidences. We want to move beyond the use of mere mind while considering these cases. We want to propound the concept of the use of mind, heart and the conscience while listening to a victim of domestic violence, a rape or of any form of abuse,” said Madhu Bhushan of Bangalore-based Vimochana.

On Thursday, the court will listen to testimonies of women who have faced different forms of domestic violence that includes economic, sexual, psychological and physical abuse. Besides experts drawn from different areas, a four-member jury comprising lawyers, representatives of the Court of Women and human rights activists will preside over the session.

The Court of Women was initiated by Coriene Kumar, founder member of Vimochana, Bangalore and Asian Women's Human Rights Council at the global level. The members have organised over 40 such courts across the world including Asia Pacific, Africa, Central America, Latin America and North America in collaboration with local women's organisations and human rights groups.

Those who actively participated in the session included Badra Mohan from Vimochana, Bangalore, Theressa, Krishna district convenor for Kalaika, Thomas Koshy, Executive Director of Navajeevan Bala Bhavan, Vijayawada, N. Vidya Kanna, city convenor for Kalaika, M. Vani, coordinator, Hitaishi family counselling centre at Navajeevan, P.Syamala Devi, coordinator, Juvenile Justice Desk, Navajeevan and Shakeera, coordinator, Jagruthi Foundation, Vijayawada.

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