When we talk about Girl Power or Womens Empowerment many of us picture hmm, lets say the Spice Girls or a civilly lead meeting run by women. The Gulabi Gang has shaken up those depictions with an extraordinary women’s movement like no other. Doned in bright pink saris and wielding bamboo sticks - The Gang - yes gang was formed in 2006 by Sampat Pal Devi in the Banda District of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India. With this region being one of the poorest parts of India and with domestic violence, patriarchal culture, female illiteracy, child marriages and child labour rigidly affecting women and girls Sampat felt a very strong need for a change.
“We are not a gang in the usual sense of the term, we are a gang for justice.”
Sampat Pal Devi
Initally the gang began when Devi witnessed a male neighbour abusing his wife and tried to stop him and protect the woman, unfortunately her attempts lead to her herself being abused. From that day Devi believed intensley that something had to be done to protect women who were being abused by men. She formulated the group, which included many survivors of domestic abuse, and they would go out and confront fathers, husbands, uncles or brothers and seek justice.
"Yes, we fight rapists with lathis [sticks]. If we find the culprit, we thrash him black and blue so he dare not attempt to do wrong to any girl or a woman again," boasts Sampat Devi Pal, the group’s founder and head.
"When a woman seeks the membership of Gulabi Gang, it is because she has suffered injustice, has been oppressed and does not see any other recourse," says Suman Singh, the group's deputy commander, from Mahoba district. "All our women can stand up to the men and if need be seek retribution through lathis," she adds.
In a country where women are highly oppressed and dominated by men it is time that justice is rightly served and perpetrators are called out and punished for their actions. Women all over the world are suffering daily from domestic violence with up to 7 deaths every month occuring in the UK only. We are so here for the amazing movement of the Gulabi Gang - but quite frankly more needs to be done worldwide to hep victims and to support survivors.
If you or anybody you know may be suffering from domestic abuse, safely get in touch with National Domestice Violence Team.
24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline
0808 2000 247