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Raksha Fundraiser Draws Attention to Fight Against Domestic Violence
BY KURINJI VEDAIYAN
Domestic violence and abuse occur within all ethnic groups and economic levels. Most often, women and children are victimized. The victims undergo verbal and emotional abuse, which at times may escalate to physical violence as well. The bottom line is that the abusive behavior is never acceptable and everyone deserves to feel valued, respected and safe says, Aqsa Farooqui, counselor for Raksha Inc.
Raksha Inc., a non-profit organization found in 1995 in Atlanta works for the welfare of the South Asian Community, particularly in helping women and children overcome domestic/ sexual violence. Raksha celebrated its 15 years of community service in November this year with its 12th Annual fund raiser event titled "Ek Shaam Raksha Ke Naam" at Westin Perimeter Hotel, Atlanta. The cheerful dine and support event started with a silent auction of artworks donated by various artists followed by the welcome note given by Sangeeta Patil, Board member of Raksha, who requested the audience to donate and volunteer for the well-being of the South Asian community.
Early on in the event Aarti Patel, a passionate fitness instructor in Atlanta was presented with the Ramesh & Vijaya Community Change Award by Rajesh Jyotishi, board member of Raksha alongside Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi. Patel, a mother of two is an active participant in serving the South Asian community with her expertise in health awareness.
The event was made vibrant with the upbeat dance performances by the Silent Killer Dance Mania group and students of the Prem Dance Studio. Come next the laughter filled crisp stand-up comedy show by Sohil Shyamsundar, an 8th grader at Holcomb Bridge Middle School. As the highlight of the event, Shereen Kassam, who calls herself the “funny brown girl” shared her invigorating comedy, with the focus on her relationship with her immigrant, conservative, Muslim parents, as well as her experiences interacting with American culture as a sheltered woman.
During her address, Aqsa Farooqui a Raksha counselor said, ”One in every four women experience domestic violence at some point in her life. Economic status or the educational level or the number of children the victims have, has no relevance.” and she urged the South Asian community, ”not to be bystanders”.
When speaking with Raksha’s Executive Director, Aparna Bhattacharyya told NRI Pulse that, “Abuse is mostly the desire to control someone and it can be manifested in the form of restricting the victim, for example, not allowing a person to have friends or controlling where they drive or not allowing a person to work or taking away one’s earned income”. She adds, “When it comes to children becoming the victim, behaviors like arguing or abusing a spouse in front a child is considered as child abuse, since it may emotionally hurt the child”. She stated that ”Raksha helps people undergoing emotional and physical turmoil by providing individual counseling sessions even via telephone and legal support is arranged through referral services”. Raksha also assists its clients with services such as helping them to write a resume for job applications and aid them with other tools for survival like support groups and educational scholarships.
Since its inception, Raksha has served more than 2,000 South Asian community members of Georgia and its client list is ever growing. Therefore, Raksha appeals to the South Asian Community to stop being a silent spectator or victim of domestic violence and join hands with Raksha in its efforts to break the silence. For more information on Raksha Inc. visit www.raksha.org