I am Puspa from Nawalparasi. I convene a weekly meeting (for Change Starts at Home). We listen to the radio program together then we discuss the issues and changes in our lives.
The changes that I have noticed in the group is that the members have begun to speak up in a frank way. They now have a better understanding of their relationship as couples and are aware of different aspects of a relationship like economical, practical, physical and sexual, which they share in the group.
Before, the wives thought it was their duty to be ready for a sexual relationship whenever their husband wanted, but now if they are tired or unwilling they are not forced to have sex by their husband. There may be other sexual alternatives, but they are not forced for sexual intercourse.
After listening to the radio program the husbands have also become more ‘sensible’. They help their wives at home, they no longer expect their wives to keep track of every expenditure or take approval … for spending. Now the husbands trust their wives and don’t question them regarding household spending.
Out of 10 LDG members almost all members have felt the change in them.
Before some … wives shared that they felt humiliated when they were scolded in front of their in-laws. But now the husbands don’t do such things. Instead they help out in household work like washing clothes, taking the children to school…taking the clothes out for drying, even picking up the children’s poop. It is not like this is your job and this is mine, whoever is free does what he or she can and husbands no longer think that raising a child is only a wife’s responsibility.
The couples have also realized that quarreling in front of their children will have a negative effect on them. They may do badly at school. They are also conscious of their reputation in the neighborhood and stay away from fights and quarrels.
Previously they did not open up even when asked they would just smile, but now they speak up themselves. The group members associate themselves with the drama characters and try to think and act as they do. After listening to the radio program they have become more aware and sensitive and thoughtful.
People beyond the group have also shown interest in being a part of the program and (have experienced changes).
One incidence I remember of a rickshaw rider. He used to hand over his everyday earnings to his wife. One time when the wife spent 1800 rupees to buy clothes for their children the rickshaw rider scolded and beat his wife. Now he repents his action and says he is empathetic and understands that his children needed to put on new clothes and he should not have scolded his wife.
Another community member was beaten by her husband because he wanted sexual relations every day and if the wife denied she would be beaten. He would come home after drinking with his friends. She even had to pretend to be menstruating in order to avoid the husband’s pressure for sex. But now after listening to our radio program (Samajhdari) he has stopped forcing his wife.