Addressing and eradicating gender-based violence is the need of the hour and the 16-day activism against gender-based violence (GBV), which began from November 25 onwards, plans to combat the issue.
The Prajnya Foundation in Chennai has been one of the most active organisations in not only supporting the cause but in also making a change every day of the campaign. Dr Swarna Rajagopalan, the founder, says, “We have been taking part in the campaign since 2008. Initially, we began by telling people that there was a problem in the first place because everyone believed that GBV only happened to certain castes or classes of society. Only lately have we been able to address how to respond to violence and to seek solutions.”
She also tells us about the many things Prajnya has been involved in since November 25 — “Apart from activities, the highlights would be the mannequins we decorated to speak about street sexual abuse, the letter writing event where people voiced their concerns on paper, the Wiki editathon and even an intergenerational conversation about women’s experiences.” Swarna also stresses on how these 16 days opens doors and accelerates momentum for more.
Trsiha Shetty, the founder of ‘She Says India’, an organisation in Mumbai that concentrates on empowering women, shares, “These 16 days are about not just highlighting stories of abuse and inadequate laws but also about what individuals are doing in their own capacity for gender equality. We have got many story submissions of people fighting gender norms or working for reproductive rights and we will be sharing this for the campaign.”
Talking about the pros of the international campaign, she adds, “It’s a global call to action that get different organisations to collaborate and partner up. It’s great that various organisations, who bring different things to the table, can help in creating conversation together.”
Delhi-based Centre for Social Research India has come up with a campaign for these 16 days called #sochkebol which tackles abuse and harassment that occurs in the online spaces. “Social surfing is a programme we have been conducting for two years where we talk about using social media for social change. We are calling for entries with the hashtag #sochkebol that fight hate speech online,” says Arnika Singh, the project coordinator, media and communications. She goes on to say, “The second component of this campaign is the verbal abuse that is targeted towards women, and isn’t considered abuse at all. Till the time people don’t see bruised women, they don’t consider violence. We’re focusing on how verbal abuse breaks a person’s confidence and harms their dignity.” Going by the great response, they would love to carry forward the campaign beyond just the 16 days, Arnika concludes....