- A school kid refuses to go home because she is being sexually abused by her father and brother
- A father gets killed in broad day light trying to protect his daughter from those who were abusing her
Two very recent headlines that were shockingly disturbing. Sexual harassment has no bounds and no discriminations. It’s victims include a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a son, an adult, a boy, a girl, a woman and they are victimized at home, at work, in public places and in isolation. The worst part of this is the lone fight the survivors of this crime have to put up with. Often, it’s reduced to an individual or a family’s fight, but never the fight of the society they live in. It’s not the sympathy that’s needed it’s our collective response as a society that’s needed to stand up to this grave crime and support them in their fight to get their life back.
Our response, the society’s response that is, should not be limited to a blog or a Facebook update or ranting in despair or commenting on news websites, it should somehow be translated into some action or join forces with those who are fighting this at the ground.
Here is what I’m chalking out as a plan and hoping to work with friends in Hyderabad to implement and take this forward
- Chose an area for implementing this Ameerpet, Mehdipatnam etc
- Seek permission from the colleges/schools in that area and organize a workshop on sexual harassment. Of course this needs to be catered to the audience
- Run the campaign in these colleges/schools by carrying messages on the notice board, displaying pictures, handing out brochures & leaflets to create more awareness
- Take the campaign to the public offices, the malls, streets
- Do a photo exhibit in public places with pictures of kids playing or smiling basically pictures that could create a good vibe. It’s been proven that the offenders are not necessarily criminals to commit such crime but act in the spur of a moment or in a fit of a rage. Creating an environment with a feel good factor can help subside such instincts
- Work with local public transportation (private and public) to carry the same pictures and/or messages
- Use RTI to inquire the status of the helpline created by the Police department to help/assist when needed
- Publicize the helpline number using all forms of Media & Communication
- Take up this issue with the local Corporator/MLA/MP to take this issue seriously and help scale the efforts and also get any financial assistance
- Obviously partner with existing NGO’s, like minded individuals or groups and come up with a practical way of addressing this issue where the society can get involved and contribute
- Since this will be in a specific place, the planning and execution will be within our reach
- Depending on the progress of this, this can be implemented in other places as well
The challenge really is to be consistent and not go to sleep only to wake up when the next incident happens. It’s high time, it’s actually well beyond that and if we don’t wake up from the deep slumber, then we lose the moral ground to even question the offenders and the wrong doers, because it’s our inaction that is working in favor of them. Hence this is not a problem of an individual but rather a problem of the society, a reflection of the society we live in and so the onus is on us to make it safer, happier and equitable.
- if you want to be a part of this, please join
- if you have other suggestions, please suggest
- if you have a plan and are working to implement, then count me in