Women have been “invisible-ised” and the truth about violence against women must be brought into the public said Corinne Kumar, founder-member of Vimochana, Bangalore, and International Coordinator of World Courts of Women.

“We have been invisible-ised. The truth must be brought into the public and into the political discourse,” she said at “Marmara” (literally, “murmuring sound of leaves” in Kannada, used here to represent women’s murmurs on violence against them), a discussion organised by the Forum against Atrocities on Women, in the city on Tuesday.

Ms. Kumar said women should continue to voice their concerns which would give it “wings and feet” and make it part of the agenda of political parties, which are involved only in “power-mongering”. Speaking and connecting to other people working on their concerns was especially important for “subalterns”- groups left out of the mainstream who go unheard.

When two students from the Northeast studying in Mangalore colleges spoke on how they had to face only “small” problems in Mangalore, she said violence was so widespread that women had come to accept it.

Discrimination

Joy Mercia, a student from the Northeast studying here, said, “We are much safer in Mangalore unlike other cities with a lot of discrimination.” She said they face “small issues” such as being addressed in derogatory terms, being manhandled and subjected to discrimination because they look different.Marygold, also a student from the North East, said, “We are facing discrimination in colleges. Our dress at home is different and when we wear our dress, people pass remarks.”

Ms. Kumar said, “These are not small things. They are seemingly invisible and very violent forms (of violence) against women. What you are doing is accepting the violence.”

Merlin Martis, a participant, said migrant workers are a section who struggle without basic facilities. Legal aid is “dead” and the police is highly communalised with politicians supporting them. She said, “This is affecting the place and women’s lives here severely.”

Parineeta, a participant, said the State should look beyond “a regimented model” of women and recognise alternative gender models which must get their space too.

Shahnaz, another participant, said, “I want to know which political party is talking about issues concerned with women.”

Vidya Dinker of the Forum said discussions would be held all over Karnataka; in Mangalore, it would be before the elections, on “Development and displacement”, and after elections on problems of North East people here and one more in Belthangady on issues there.

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