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Ending Domestic Violence in South Asian Community with ‘Maitri’

'Maitri' - Silicon Valley's Outreach for Assistance:

In February 1991, a group of women came together to create a lifeline for South Asian women facing domestic violence, marking the birth of Maitri. Recognizing the service gap for immigrant South Asian women, they saw a need for culturally and linguistically accessible support, leading to Maitri's founding. 

Today, Maitri remains dedicated to bridging this gap and continues to answer the calls for help that started over three decades ago. Since 1991, Maitri has empowered thousands of survivors and emerged as a cornerstone for the South Asian community. Maitri offers holistic assistance through volunteer training, comprehensive resource guides, partnerships with legal and domestic violence organizations, and various programs and services. These include a Helpline, Peer Counseling, Transitional Housing, Legal Advocacy, Economic Empowerment, Individual Therapy, Support Groups, Community Outreach and Education, and Emergency Shelter Referrals. 

Maitri believes healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, open communication, and individual empowerment. All of their efforts are geared toward helping South Asians make informed choices.

South Asia's Domestic Violence Problem:

  • High Prevalence: South Asia faces higher rates of intimate partner violence, with 37% of women affected, exceeding the global average of 30%
  • Economic Dependence: Financial dependency among South Asian women, with 58% not participating in income-related decisions, increases their vulnerability to domestic abuse
  • Child Marriages: South Asia has the world's highest child marriage rates, with 30% of girls marrying before turning 18, contributing to heightened risks of domestic violence.

* Data cited from internet sources and may not be 100% updated

Maitri's Mission:

Their mission is to empower South Asian survivors of domestic violence to lead lives of dignity and self-sufficiency through holistic programs and enable healthy relationships and gender equity through community education, engagement, and advocacy.

"Violence against women, gender abuse, gender inequality – you find it everywhere. But it's our duty to stand against it."

In this Episode:

In this episode, we explore the remarkable journey of Maitri, an organization dedicated to supporting South Asian victims of domestic violence. From its modest beginnings with a single phone line in a kitchen over 30 years ago, Maitri has grown into a powerful force offering various services, including legal advocacy, immigration help, housing, and more. Born from the empathy of a group of South Asian women in Silicon Valley, Maitri has evolved to have 18 staff members and around 50 committed volunteers, making it a significant source of support for the South Asian community. Nandini Ray shares her experiences with misogyny and domestic violence in India, emphasizing that this issue transcends class and culture. Through her heartfelt stories, we learn about three individuals who, thanks to Maitri, have been able to change their life trajectories. We hear tales of a mother reclaiming her self-worth, a young person escaping a forced marriage, and a man challenging gender norms by seeking help against abuse. While one episode can't possibly capture the full impact of Maitri's work, the organization stands out as a shining example of hope and resilience in the face of domestic violence. Join us for an episode filled with inspiration, poignant accounts, and a deep look into an issue affecting global communities.

About the Guest:

Nandini Ray is the Sr. Manager, Outreach & Prevention Program at Maitri. She is a State-mandated trained Domestic Violence advocate passionate about gender justice. Nandini leads all community engagement activities at Maitri, represents Maitri at community talks, panels, and media, provides culturally responsive training for domestic violence advocates and service providers, hosts the Maitri podcast, Between Friends, and manages Maitri’s online activities. Under her leadership, Maitri’s Outreach and Prevention Program has grown significantly.

"Domestic violence knows no boundaries – it's not about rich or poor, educated or uneducated. It's a global issue."

Show Notes:

  • How Maitri is making strides in supporting those experiencing domestic abuse
  • Learn about Maitri's first point of contact for individuals facing abuse or violence
  • Legal Assistance for Immigrants: Dive deep into the unique challenges immigrants face and how Maitri offers them legal guidance
  • Understanding Restraining Orders: Why many people struggle with legal procedures like restraining orders
  • How Maitri empowers its clients to be financially independent, coaching them on job readiness
  • Addressing Mental Health: The importance of mental health assistance and how Maitri offers relevant resources
  • Community Outreach for Prevention: How Maitri raises awareness and prevents domestic violence through community programs
  • Domestic Violence: A Larger Issue: Explore the wide-reaching impacts of domestic violence on society, from health costs to job losses
  • Engaging Men in the Dialogue: Why it is Essential to Include Men in the Discussion on Domestic Violence
  • Debunking the Model Minority Myth: Learn the misconceptions within the South Asian community about domestic violence
  • Stigma and Domestic Violence: Understand the harmful impact of societal stigma on addressing and combating domestic abuse
  • Learn about Maitri's initiative to involve men in domestic violence discussions actively

"Gender has no distinction in domestic violence. It can impact anyone, regardless of their gender."

Links Mentioned:

If you are a victim of sexual violence and need help, contact Maitri:

Address: 697, Santa Clara, CA 95052

Phone: (408) 436-8398

Email: maitri@maitri.org

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This Podcast is Sponsored by:

Sharad Gupta

Sharad Gupta

Sharad Gupta, a dedicated real estate professional and former tech expert, brings a wealth of life and professional experience to his role as a podcast host. Transitioning into real estate after a two-decade-long career in tech, Sharad is deeply committed to providing for his family, yet his true passion lies in community service. Inspired by his special needs son, he consistently raises funds for local organizations. His commitment extends to his pivotal roles as a San Jose Neighborhood Association Member and an active participant in the San Jose Rotary Club. Here, he tirelessly advocates for community betterment, initiating impactful service projects, and championing local issues. His diverse background, coupled with his relentless drive for community service, resonates deeply with his podcast audience, providing them with an inspiring and profound listening experience.

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