Respect Educate Nurture Empower Women (RENEW) receives as many as 17 cases on an average in a week. One would expect them all to be the familiar tales of husbands abusing their wives or young women getting abused but there are an increasing number of abused men also coming forward.
From 2008 to 2014, RENEW received 65 male clients. Many of the men sought help to deal with their alcoholic wives, while some of the men approach RENEW on behalf of their sisters, mothers or friends.
“When they come in request for help, we help them to get into rehab and psychiatric ward,” the official added.
RENEW also pointed out that some men are abused and bullied by their wives. The official also said that the actual numbers of men requiring help are much higher as most of the men do not want to come out and seek help due to their ego and societal norms.
“We can never say that women are the victims or men are the perpetrators in domestic violence, but it is a fact that 97 percent of women are the victims,” the official said.
To give perspective women and children still form the bulk of RENEW clients with the total clients in 2014 being 382.
Highlighting the importance of having a marriage certificates (MC), RENEW is now creating awareness on early marriage Act. An official pointed out women are making a mistake when not insisting on a marriage certificate to legalize the marriage.
The official said, “While solving case and when asked for any documents, clients simply say they don’t have, whereby we fail to help them.”
RENEW has been making a steady progress in providing information, counseling, discussion and strengthening partnerships with the volunteers.
RENEW has built a network called Community Based Support System in all the 20 dzongkhags by collaborating with multi-sectoral task force with is with Ministry of Health (MoH).
“We have been able to partner with many key stakeholders, like Parliamentarians, private and corporate sectors, and with many more,” the official added.
RENEW also sorts out many cases that it receives and checks to see if it comes within its mandate. The official said, “Some come with land related issues and some with issues related to census, whereby we inform the relevant agencies.”
RENEW also forwards the crime-related cases, such as battered persons, rape, and cases with minors involved to the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP). After which RBP forwards the case to the court.
However, RENEW receives case forwarded from RBP or any other related agencies for counseling and emergency shelter purposes.
RENEW offers individual counseling, family counseling and couples counseling. Individual counseling is referred to the clients that want to talk alone to the counselor without involving anyone else.
Family counseling is a type of counseling where family members including children are all involved in the counseling process to come up with a joint solution. Couples counseling is given to both the husband and wife together.
RENEW also has plans to reach out to vulnerable children and youth. “We now want to work with the children and youth because they are the future,” the official said. Therefore, RENEW will observe the International Day for Girls Child with the theme “The Power of Adolescence Girl” on October 11.
RENEW was established in 2004 with the mandate to educate and create awareness on issues of domestic violence, gender based violence, sexual abuse and sexual reproductive health.