In this epoch of 21st century one expects discriminating crimes especially the devious crimes against women to have been faded away into darkness just like inhumane authoritative rule of dictators and colonisers. In the so exclaimed modern era of laptops, mobile phones, democracy, modern attire of jeans,skirts and shirts, our society is yet plagued by age old deception and myths. To sensitise and spread awareness Hashingtag brings you five campaigns fighting against atrocities against women.
#BeWithBeti-‘I wish to stay alive’
This is a 2006 social media campaign which recently got huge momentum at the grace of celebrities promoting it by posting their pictures on their official instagram and twitter accounts. Although we would have appreciated a little more detail or a hashtag to the campaign’s or the founder’s profile. Anyways here is what we found while goggling. The campaign is monitored by an NGO called Beti, a baby project of Anu Ranjan,a GR8 TV magazine editor. It came into existence on 4th February 2006 in association with GR8 TV and ITA-Indian Television Academy and was encouragingly supported by United Nations Population Fund. To help Anu voice her campaign Ms. Shabana Azmi, a social activist, actress and Member of Parliament and Ms Diana Hayden, an Ex Miss World joined the 4th February press conference.
The initial aim of Beti was to prevent Female Infanticide, one of the curses of society leading to catastrophic Gender disbalance, hence disrupting the nature’s equilibrium. Beti NGO mobilized its campaign by popularizing slogans such as “People love to have a MOTHER, a SISTER and of course a WIFE, then why not a DAUGHTER?” and “When you kill a girl; you kill many others!”
Later, it extended its hands towards other heinous horrors heaped on Female Gender including acid attacks and rape. Anu Ranjan has promised to raise Rs.22 lakhs in association with Headlines Today for reconstruction surgery of Sonali Murkhaji, an acid attack survivor. Beti raises the funds for the victims through fashion shows and cricket matches, convincing and persuading actors from Bollywood and Television to promote and participate.
The list of the celebrities stepping out to give their support is regularly expanding. Recently the Big Boss 8 winner, Gautam Gulati tweeted his picture holding a paper with bewithbeti hashtag and a caption “Stand up against atrocities on women. Show your support! #beWithBeti.”In order to get people’s support to wreck the brutality and provide a life with carefree attitude to women he posted more images on instagram. Varun Dhawan being preoccupied by Badlapur’s promotional activities, didn’t hesitate to show his support for the campaign. Alia Bhatt and Vani Kapoor following the trend posted their pictures with #beWithBeti written on their hands. Mahek Chanchal, music director and singer Salim Merchant,T.V actress Krystle D’souza, Big Boss 8 runner up Karishma Tanna, Sakshi Tanwar,Sonali Sehgall, Sangram Singh, Neil Nitin Mukesh and still counting.
#BellBajao-‘Home Is Where The Hurt Is’
This campaign is the brainchild of Mallika Dutt, an Indian-American social activist who is the founder and CEO of Breakthrough, a human rights organisation. She has been twice enlisted in Top 50 Most Influential Women in Verve magazine. The purpose of Bell Bajao movement or Ring The Bell movement is to ‘ bring human rights to home’. Women has been treated and regarded inhumanely from ages. Rape, eve teasing, harassment,acid attacks,etc are majorly the external horrors of a woman’s waking dream but what about the crime that springs up at home? What about the woman who is raped by her drunk husband, beaten up with hands, legs, belts and even at times bruised with knife or red hot tongs? Understanding the helplessness of such women, Breakthrough started Bell Bajao movement in 2008 in association with Ministry of Women and Child development, UNI-FEM and the UN Trust Fund and its English global Ring The Bell counterpart at Clinton Global Initiative in 2013.
It persuades the men and women overhearing the domestic violence to stand up for similar abuse by simply adopting non-violent interrupting measures such as ringing the bell and asking for salt, urgent need to use phone or have glass of water. The objective is to let the oppressor know that his actions and words are audible to others and will be interrupted by any means.
What sets this movement apart is that it aims to enlighten the male population regarding their roles in reducing the domestic violence.The website and blog are filled with boys and men from all over the world voicing their concerns, giving their suggestions and taking their pledges to ring the bell whenever and wherever they find injustice towards women.The Bell Bajao team has come up with various ways for creating awareness. They have recently started mobile video vans which have been travelling for 150 days covering 6 districts in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra in 80000 kilometers exposing 2.7 million people to the horrific issue of domestic violence. The method of spreading awareness is both innovative and interactive Innovative and interactive by organizing activities such as street theater,games, quizzes and audio visual tools. Boman Irani is its celebrity brand ambassador and have been a part of Bell Bajao social media advertisement. In one of his interviews he said “Let us make Bell Bajao a clarion call for everything that is wrong in our society. Uski bhi bell bajao.”
#Besharmi Morcha–My Skirt isn’t responsible for your sexual misconduct
It is a spin off of Slut Walk started in Toronto on April 3,2011. The main objective of Slut Walk is to protest against women’s appearance as the explanation or excuse for rape and to end the rape culture. Toronto police officer, Michael Sanguinetti’s comment that “women should avoid dressing dressing like sluts” as a precautionary measure against rape was the cause of the outburst among Toronto women. This protest gobally spread to two hundred countries. Some countries’ protest dates even clashed with that of Toronto’s. Furthermore, the name “Slut Walk” varied from country to country as they combined the principles of Slut Walk with their national culture.
There were many discussions regarding the translation of the campaign name into Hindi. But literal translation carried the risk of demeaning the objective of the campaign and simply encouraging the ‘prostitute image’ of women. Thus the word “slut” was replaced by “besharmi”(shamelessness) and “walk” by “morcha”(idea of action and protest).
Slut walk reached India on 16th July 2011 in Bhopal. That was the first slut walk in India and came to known as SlutWalk arthaat Besharmi Morcha. It’s organiser Radhika Shingwekar, then a third-year student of law and Swati Singh Baghel got inspired by the Toronto walk and the upcoming Delhi slut walk. They promoted their idea of Bhopal Besharmi Morcha on social networking site such as Facebook and created forum after the SlutWalk where people could ask questions to the administration regarding legislation, security and much more. Around 50 people turned up on the protest day.
On 31st July 2011,Besharmi Morcha was organised in Delhi, the Rape Capital of India due to the highest number of registered rape cases. There were approximately 500 people present in the protest. Police official were posted all around the area. Actress and social activist Nafisa Ali became the face of the walk commenting ‘Basically, we need to work towards the safety of women on streets. It’s an issue of mindset. If a boy can go out at two in the morning, so can a girl’. Besharmi Morcha reached Lucknow on 21st August 2011. It was highly controversial in Bangalore as it got cancelled due to coinciding dates with Kuala Lumpur in Malasia and Hong Kong on 4th December 2011. Dhillan Mowli, an organisers, informed that people have being remarking that the Morcha was “not part of Indian culture” and that a vice-president of one of the women’s organisation had warned to beat off the women wearing revealing clothes with brooms.
Kolkata is the city which very well understands that one Morcha can’t change the scenario and the mindset of people. It organised Besharmi Morcha on 24 May 2012 with about 300 people and then another Morcha on June 7, 2013 from Jadavpur University to Triangular Park!
#BlankNoise-‘I Pledge to be Visible in My City’
Jasmeen Patheja started out Blank noise as an online based student project at Shrishti School of Art and Design in Bangalore in August 2011. This project aims to investigate the range of street interactions and define ‘eve teasing’ as street sexual harassment/ violence. When asked about the choice of words, Patheja responded that Blank is ‘that which is not allowed meaning, form or articulation’ and Noise is ‘that which heightens, builds itself.’
This campaign has now spread across the nation and is solely run by volunteers of all ages and professions. The collective effort of volunteers include to give testimonials of definitions of the boundaries of “harassment”,”teasing”, “flirting” and share them in public, thereby creating debate and awareness. It has a special place called Action Heroes where the campaign encourages women not to sit idle in public. The campaign even has a separate blog called ‘Blank Noise Guys’ where boys and men share their opinions on their role to stop eve-teasing and post videos for the same.
Its ‘Museum of Street Weapon’ section examines how numerous everyday objects can be used as a weapon for defense:a safety pin, chopsticks,anything with sharp edges might be her knife, or deodorant a pepper spray. It welcomes people to collect the clothes in which they are eve teased and mail it to the nearby BlankNoise office in the respective city. The purpose of collective installation of clothes is that these clothes will act as a testimony and refresh the public memory, altogether disobeying the idea of so called modesty.
Garments, which include school uniforms and salwar kameez, have been coming from all over India from Kashmir to Chennai. Apart from its social media interactions, the volunteers actively spray painting messages, print tee shirts with strong messages on them and stage demonstrations. They post testimonials of victims who sexually harassed especially in public places.
Image: blank noise-poll-online-hashingtag/ source: http://cis-india.org/home-images/Ineveraskedforit2.jpg/image_preview
Image: blank noise-hashingtag/ source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-i4ZFyOvMeAs/UNdvkCI1kvI/AAAAAAAAB7w/UaypbkEq62I/s1600/YAH-PLEDGE.jpg
#MARD-“Real men don’t Rape”
Being deeply moved and distressed by the rape and murder incident of his company’s legal lawyer, Pallavi Purkayastha and horrendous Delhi gang rape, in March 2013 Farhan Aktar did his bit by launching Men Against Rape and Discrimination campaign or M.A.R.D campaign. From the very start the campaign got promoted on many social websites and several Bollywood stars exchanged their views through official twitter accounts and fan pages.Farhan Aktar received appreciation and support from celebrities such as Shahrukh Khan, Mahesh Babu,Hrithik Roshan, Shahid Kapoor and Vidya Balan. His tweets were re-tweeted by Arjun Rampal, Priyanka Chopra, Shabana Azmi and Sonam Kapoor.
Apart from popularizing the campaign on social network, he performed at a concert in a Bangalore college wearing a T-shirt with MARD logo printed. He further promoted the campaign during Indian Premeir League (IPL) matches.He handed out 70,000 mustaches to the audience at Eden Garden, Kolkata on 26th of April 2013 in the course of Kolkata Knight Riders v/s Kings XI Punjab. Celebrities such as Adam Gilchrist, Shaan and Gautam Gambir were spotted with mustaches during the match. Sachin Tendulkar and Mahesh Babu along with Javed Aktar contributed their voice to record a poem. When asked about his vision of the movement Farhan Aktar remarked “Every time I look into the mirror, I want to see a man whose mother, sister, wife and daughter are proud to call their own.”