A Survey of Dandenong Indian Community
By
Dr Sunila Shrivastava

HUM TUM is a Task Force Committee set up to create the awareness about the Respectful Relationships (RR) and Gender Equality (GE) within the Indian Community of Melbourne and hence prevent violence against women. To achieve its goal, Hum Tum set following objectives:

  • change attitude and behaviour towards Family Violence
  • promote mutual trust
  •  encourage effective communication – “break the silence-let’s talk”
  •  provide help in building self esteem
  •  promote access to helpful resources

As one of the Family Violence preventative activity, Hum Tum planned an event during the Diwali Fair organised by AIII in Sandown Racecourse, Dandenong on 19 October 2014. During this event Hum Tum members talk to Indian community members and distributed 400 flyers with the information about FV awareness and available helpful resources.
Hum Tum members also conducted a survey to find out the understanding of general public about the elements required to build Respectful Relationships for Happy Life. People were asked to choose the most important element of RR for Happy Life out of EQUAL STATUS, TRUST, COMMUNICATION and FORGIVE AND FORGET. A sample of 160 participants was collected and the outcomes are as follows:

  • About 57.5% females and 42.5% males took part in this survey.
  • It is evident from the chart below that about 42% of total participants believe that TRUST is most important element to build RR followed by COMMUNICATION (29%), FORGIVE & FORGET (16%) and last EQUAL STATUS (13%).

Respectful1

  • The understanding of RR elements male and female is shown in the chart below. For all elements except COMMUNICATION female number exceeds than males.

Respectful2

Outcomes: It was pleasing to know that females were more interested in knowing the FV information and to participate in the survey. This can imply that there is a need for the awareness activities about the FV and available HELP-resources.
TRUST is believed to be the most important element to build RR. Female participants have given more importance to TRUST, EQUAL STATUS and FORGIVE & FORGET as compared to male participants. Male participants believe COMMUNICATION and TRUST are equally important with a little bit more importance to COMMUNICATION than female participants
According to VicHealth 2011**, the most significant determinants of Family Violence are:

  • The unequal distribution of power and resources between men and women
  • An adherence to rigidly defined gender roles i.e. Gender Inequality

It is alarming to note that EQUAL STATUS element to build RR was given least importance by both female and male participants. This shows that the Indian community still required the awareness about EQUAL STATUS to both male and female. Lack of TRUST, COMMUNICATION and FORGIVE & FORGET are only contributing elements for disrespectful relationship, the significant determinant is EQUAL STATUS. Therefore, for a Happy Life it is important to promote the activities about the awareness of Equal and Respectful Relationships between men and women of Indian Community.
‘Hum Tum’ acknowledge the sponsorship of City of Greater Dandenong for the project “Awareness of Respectful Relationships and Gender Equality in Dandenong Indian Community, 2014” and AIII for providing free Stall for this activity.

**VicHealth 2011, ‘Preventing violence against women in Australia’, research Summary, pp1&9