Coverage by Bhat Dittakavi of Variance.AI on “Key to stopping domestic violence lies with fathers” by Elca Grobler of My Choices Foundation at TEDXHyderabd on 24th September 2017.
Elca left investment banking career to go after her calling to stop abuse and violence on girls. She poured her heart out as she shared her journey. Elca spoke from her heart and soul and moved everyone in the audience.
Elca Grobler of “My Choices”
Initial days in India
Everyone was able to dive into chaos in Indian streets. I couldn’t cross the road with my kids when I moved to India years ago and asked an auto driver to give us ride to cross to the other side. After years, we managed to cross now, even  our youngest daughter now puts her hand our confidently to stop the traffic.
India can overwhelm you with your love and also can destroy you with its violence.
My calling
Calling is something I have to do. I have an investment banking background. I was hoping to use it. That is not how it turned out. In first 6 months I visited so many self help groups. Time and again, women slowly open up and start sharing the violence and abuse they go through.
Over 40% indian women fight abuse at home. Family thinks a man hitting his wife is justified thing! One out of three women survived physical or sexual abuse.
Every 3 minutes a 12 year girl gets brutally beaten  and raped. Domestic violence and trafficking of young girls is something we shall talk about. Why is so much violence? One reason is patriarchy.
For way too long men have been part of the problem and hence they were excluded. Father believes the farce promises of people and he doesn’t know his daughter would be raped and broken.
How do we change the behavior that has been installed in our culture? Our team found answers for these questions.
We learnt through a study we did.
9 out of 10 want to be good fathers. If we want to see lasting change, we have to make fathers part of the solution. Women fear the public humiliation. Families can’t find the daughters gone missing. We show up in the villages to educate the families and fathers.
Deepa faced 14 years of abuse as her husband harassed and abused her. Then one of our volunteers met her. This is how Raghav has seen his father do. He followed his dad’s way of beating the woman of the house.
Biggest gift a father shall give children is love and respect for their mother. 
Counselors spend a lot of time. 78% of the times they could stop the abuse and bring peace. We can’t reach all villages. Every minute counts. We partnered with an analytics company to identify the villages at risk. Then we went after them.
We meet with fathers, mothers, boys and girls and even principals. We show them videos. Knowledge is the key. We try to make fathers become good fathers. We talk about farming. How he let’s the farm grow and well nourished. Same is the way a girl has to be brought up.
When a father of five children was approached by a neighbor, he thought it was an opportunity to get his daughter Ruksana married. But he happens to be a trafficker. The father attended one of our programs. He saved Ruksana. He is one of the 50000 we trained. We have reached 750000 students through outside village program.
We can train an army of indian fathers. The work we do is not easy. We deal with immense pain. There is grief but doing what we do gives us courage that transforms us and even the people around us. It can transform the cities and villages.
Help the girl next door and stop this brutality. A father that protects his daughter also keeps his village safer.
You hold the solution for stopping the violence. Army of fathers are precious assets. Voice of justice.
Deep down, we do know what is right what is wrong. Let us start doing what is right. 


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