23.9.14

Attention Action Heroes Worldwide : Call To Volunteer/ Intern


We're on full gear preparing for the I  Never Ask For It campaign ; designed to tackle and arrest blame across spaces of sexual violence. 

With this we're creating a Global Action Hero Network. This is a call for new internships (duration 4 months) , and to volunteer (time involvement can be designed by you in collaboration with us)
  • You can volunteer/ intern from where you are geographically located
  • You are also welcome to work with us from our studio in Bangalore, India
  • We can match your area of interest / skills with campaign requirements
  • Last day for application October 15th
  • We will get back to you by November 1st, 2014

Please do write to us at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com incase of any questions. 
If you have already volunteered with BN in the past and would like to re connect,  we would be thrilled to have you back!

There is no application criteria and we've been built 100% by Action Heroes, i.e you.

Do forward this to those interest, encourage people around you to apply. Yes we want Action Hero Grandmas to apply too!

We're currently particularly seeking individuals with an interest in video editing, sound editing, 
illustration, comics, communication design ( web and print) , programming, research , multi lingual skills, fund raising. 

Have stated that, one of our recent interns from Bangalore did none of the above, and chose to work with the police.
Another set of volunteers / Action Heroes include law students from Kolkata.  
A new Action Hero has moved to Bangalore from Norway and is taking the deep plunge into a participatory research project that is part of the campaign. We will be sharing internship and volunteer contributed projects shortly.

In solidarity,
Blank Noise Team 

19.9.14

* Wearing my label * I Never Ask For It #StandWithSuzette #ParkStreetGirl

Call To Action :

Kolkata citizens gathered opposite Ginger. Action Heroes at BN had prepared a secret action plan , which could not be executed due to the level of threat and policing organised by Ginger.
Take Back The Night, Kolkata had also called citizens to action at the venue.
Action Heroes, Shuktara Lal, Dana Roy and Sumona Chakravarty engaged with individuals gathered at the protest . We created labels as an attempt to own the label we wear, to turn the insult #ParkStreetGirl back as a strength instead. Cheering the three Action Heroes for intervening and reporting to action on such short notice! While the intervention wasn't as planned and scripted, the team of three worked around the many shifts of events that took place on the same evening ; for instance at 5 pm we heard that section144 had been imposed.

Shuktara Lal's report below:



photo credit: Sumona Chakravarty

photo credit : to be updated



Shuktara Lal:
I’ve never found it easy to claim access to public spaces in Calcutta as a woman. One of the many hurdles stacked up between my lived reality in the city and the city I would want it to be is the virtual impossibility of standing still. That is, standing still without being harassed whether verbally or physically. What I appreciated most about this intervention was that I was able to stand still on a fairly busy pavement for nearly half an hour – and I felt as if I could have done so even longer. The space I occupied was respected, my body language was respected, my spoken (or in this case written) message was respected too. It was my label which seemed to protect me and act as a kind of shield, separating passersby from me. Some of them glanced at my label (but not too many actually read the whole of it) and moved ever so slightly away from me as if to indicate a degree of wariness. Some, perhaps having already seen others wearing labels, slotted me as a member of a protest gathering and didn’t pay me much attention (the fact that the city at that time was protesting a number of different things was shared public knowledge; Calcutta can be a lot of things but one thing it always is, is aware of what its citizens may be protesting). However, everyone let me simply be, including shopkeepers with stores behind where I was standing. And because I can count the number of times I have been able to do that in my life, I stood still, took in the ambience around me and lapped it all up.

*

'We' have the right to protest. Be heard. To dissent. 

The protests organised by Take Back The Night and Blank Noise are both non violent and peaceful.
We have been told that Section 144 has been invoked, and there is risk involved in participating today. If you can make it, be there at Ginger, 7 pm, to join in a non violent and peaceful gathering.

For those who are not attending the collective action, we request you to share solidarity by uploading a self portrait, yes ‪#‎selfie‬ with your message on your t shirt. ‪#‎StandWithSuzette‬ 

Make that you fb profile photo tomorrow, through the week. Share this far and wide. Now.

How to prepare for a message on your t shirt:

1) " Park Street Girl " - I _____ ( add your name)


* choice 2 - the challenging one, but worth the effort 

2) Make your message personally relevant.
Think of your own label. How are you stereotyped? 
Are you, 'slut', 'single', 'good girl', 'cougar', 'divorcee' , 'unmarried', 'rape survivor', 'survivor of sexual assault' ( most of us are), ' gay', 'lesbian ', 'queer' , 'transgender' - identify your label and appropriate it on your t.


Example:
" Groped by my tuition teacher at age ____ " survivor of sexual assault
'DIVORCEE' - I walked out of my abusive marriage.
" I survived rape " - rape survivor
" Chakka' - Transgendered Citizen 


Selfie dates:  Sept 20th -  Sept 28th

Please use the following hashtags on twitter
#INeverAskForIt
#StandWithSuzette




17.9.14

Calling Kolkata Action Heroes:

Action Hero, Suzette Jordan

Suzette Jordan was denied entry at Ginger. The manager said she couldn't be allowed in because she is the 'Park Street Rape Victim'. Read more here

The victim blaming continues, it's easy. 
" She was drunk and made a commotion" (response from Ginger authority)
" She had an outstanding bill  (response from Ginger authority)
" She is attention seeking " (comments made online)


We are preparing a collective response  and need you with sleeves rolled , heart and in numbers.

Here's what we need for the secret plan of action
1. A plain tee shirt of any colour but not a dark shade ( yellow/ blue/ pink / orange / white )"
2. A permanent marker to write on the tshirt. Colour black.

Further details will be shared when we hear from you. Please note that this is a secret action plan and we can only disclose further as soon as we hear from you. Be there.

Action Heroe will join Take Back The Night team following the secret plan.
Please do email us asap at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com

Thank you.
BN team

15.9.14

In solidarity with Suzette Jordan : Calling Kolkata Action Heroes

Suzette Jordon
Another humiliating moment in my life!!!! Was not allowed into a restaurant/pub! Known as. Ginger, Was told by the manager that being the 'PARK STREET RAPE VICTIM' he could not let me in, this was told to me reptedly by the rude manager who brazenly challenged me and added that I could even report his name.


As narrated to Harish Iyer on the phone:

"I was bored and wanted to go out. My fiance wanted to take me to a restaurant called Ginger in Hazra, Kolkata. I agreed and we decided to go there and chill. We parked and went close to the hotel. At the entrance itself I was told by some junior staff 'you cannot enter'. When I asked him for a justification he directed me to his manager. I went up to the manager and asked him for a valid reason to deny me an entry. He said sternly "we can't allow you because you are the Park Street rape victim". I was shocked and aghast. I couldn't believe what I just heard. I asked him again, he repeated again. My fiance stood there shocked but held on to me closely as a pillar of strength urging me to fight it out. The manager still repeated the same thing. He repeated the same 3 times. I almost felt like I was raped once again. There were some 20 odd people in queue to get in. All of them seemed in a hurry to eat,none of them intervened or even acted as if they heard anything. Humiliated beyond repair I stormed out and called a reporter friend from 24 Ghanta. When i narrated the complete incident to the reporter, they sent their OB van to shoot. A female reporter came to cover the incident. When she stormed near the entrance, another man came out, who I presume was the owner, and spoke rudely and indecently to her which she caught on camera {and this was shown all day today in the channel (14 September) } A kind police man saw the OB van and asked me to contact him if I needed help. He offered to intervene. I was too angry for anything that time. I am going to the police on Monday to register a complaint. May be I would be asked again "why did you take 2 days to report". Well, I was asked this question when I was gang raped, nothing in this country surprises me. Right from police stations, to court rooms to everyday life, we get raped again and again and again. There are some mute spectators who champion me when they see me on TV. I get many mails supporting me. I equally get hate mails too but I am happy that india did stand up with me when I spoke about it in national and international television. But in the end all the adulation has no meaning when you dont stand up at the time of abuse. I wonder why none of those people standing in queue stood up. The manager was rude, I wonder why his subordinates didn't speak up rather stood there listening and supporting the manager. I wonder how many rapes would this country take to finally stand up with survivors. I am truly angry" - Suzette Jordan

To Action Heroes in Kolkata:

We are preparing a collective response to the above and need you with sleeves rolled , heart and in numbers.

Things we need:
We need you to be 'prepared' with a white shirt/ yellow shirt / any light coloured Tee and a permanent marker to enable this act. For those of you in Kolkata, please confirm and or email us blurtblanknoise@gmail.com



For those interested, email us right away : blurtblanknoise@gmail.com 

fb event here


Recent media updates:

100 % Action Hero Response








Compliment is that which can make you feel respected. It carries the capacity to elevate.





To Times Of India
Your Attention Please
This is NOT a compliment.







11.9.14

Mahila Shasaktikaran ? ( Women's Empowerment ?)

Open letter to the Chief Minister of Gujurat from Mallika Sarabhai.

Mahila Shasaktikaran?
DNA August 28th 14


My dear Chief Minister,

On Thursday morning I received a picture of a poster  brought out by your government with your photograph on the right corner and the title Mahila Sashaktikaran, or Empowering Women. The main photo is of three or four non Indian women wearing jeans and shirts and the text says, “Ayogya kapada paheri bahar na niklo” or Do Not Go Out Wearing Inappropriate Clothes. The advertisement has been put out by the police department of Porbandar.

I remember a time, oh it must have been forty years ago, when men in Europe pinched the midriff of Indian women wearing saris because they felt that a bare midriff was really sexy and an invitation to be pinched. They were bored apparently of their own women wearing mini skirts and showing cleavage. The midriff was ‘forbidden” and therefor fair game for any man who thought a woman was his for fun. I do not however recall either our own government or those of the European countries putting out posters warning women to cover up, or warning  the men of dire consequences ( though that would have been appropriate). And Indian women slapped off these advances in many cases and continued wearing the sari.

I also know the hundreds of thousands of women in Gujarat who for centuries have been wearing backless cholis and continue doing so. I do not recall a warning of appropriate dressing going out to them either.

How is this poster empowering women? Why does it picture foreign women? What is wrong with what they are wearing? What is wrong with wearing any kind of clothes? If a warning on clothing must be put out should it not be for men as well?

Madame Chief Minister, if this poster has gone our with your knowledge then women in Gujarat need to be warned, for nothing could feed into the sick mentality of our men, who treat women as chattel, more than this. The poster shows the misogynist mentality that says rape and abuse are the fault of women. Any study on violence against women, anywhere in the world, will tell you this is not the case. Violence against women is about men – about male gaze; about patriarchy; about male entitlement; about the way we bring up our sons to think women exist for their use. Violence against women is about telling little boys 'be a man', about their mardangi; about women chastising other women for no fault of theirs as they play out like puppets in the hands of patriarchy; and it is about violence and crime committed, nearly always, by men and boys.

The poster reflects all that is sick in our society, all that leads to the continuing killing of girl foetuses, of the rape of two month olds and 80 yealr olds, of the refusal of police stations to file FIRs, about politicians and so called gurus who say boys will be boys. This poster, Madame, shows why there is no decrease in the rate of crimes against women since NIrbhaya, since the Justice Verma Commission Report. It is a reflection on why, in spite of fast track courts and judges requiring to be more open and fair, there is no conviction rate increase in crimes against women in the last two years, and it reflects this society’s forgetting of the young girls raped and hanged from trees for all to see and as a warning against women who do not wish to be silent when abused.

We live in a State where more and more young women decide to wear odhanis to cover all but their eyes,  like  burkhas,  to protect themselves against roving male eyes. This poster wishes to drive us all to that condition.

Madame, tell the women of Gujarat that this poster is WRONG. Make a statement that crimes against women are rarely, if ever, the fault of women, that they are the fault of misguided men, perpetuated and carried out by men, and that we need to work on the men to stop them. Now and for a long time to come.

As a woman and a Chief Minister, this is the least that the women of Gujarat expect of you. Do not let us down.


Mallika Sarabhai


Letter to Chief Minister in response to this poster
The poster has now been removed.


10.9.14

Hahaha Sangha tool kit for Action Hero Neighbourhoods


About: Hahaha Sangha is an intergenerational community space within a neighbourhood , with the intention to be visible, enable familiarity hence safety. 

Hahaha Sangha is an initiative of Blank Noise;  a global network of  'Action Heroes' committed to building safe spaces/ cities. The first Hahahah Sangha was created in Yelahanka in 2012, with students of Srishti School of Art Design and Technology and with local residents . Together they formed Yelahanka Action Heroes
All members of the Hahahah Sangha identify as 'Action Heroes'.  The president of the Hahaha Sangha is Action Hero Yashoda. Hahaha Sangha Mantris include: Renuka, Sampige, Reba, Vishaka , Arushi.

Why the Hahaha Sangha ?
Because we pledge to be visible, fight fear, occupy space, and take a step towards creating safe and welcoming neighbourhoods. Hahaha Sangha establishes familiarity, builds comfort, reduces threat.

How do we create a Hahaha Sangha ?
1.Form a primary group of not less than 3.
2. Identify a park in your neighbourhood. 
3. Go door to door inviting local residents from across communities, background, age groups, sexualities to join the Hahahah Sangha

You could break this process into two parts but remember to be welcoming, inviting, warm and friendly, specially since you're proposing a Hahaha Sangha

1) approach people you already have a little bit of familiarity with, could be the lady selling tender coconut, the 'aunty' running a tailoring shop, beauty parlour, women you see everyday at the same bus stop ?

2) try your luck with someone you don't know at all. aproach them on the streets. For example it could be someone on their way to a temple, yoga class.

How do we invite them?
At first its important that the people invited see the invitation as merely to a laughter club for women and individuals from across sexualities. 

Who do we invite? Can we invite men ?
Men can be there too , but our primary focus is to create a space for intergenerational women to come together. We want to be inclusive of languages, age groups, socio economic background.

Why should anyone join?
Because it is a lot of fun. 

How often and when can we do this?
While you are welcome and encouraged to create this as often as you can, we would like for you to register with us at  _____ info coming up_______ and commit to building this every saturday. We will also be announcing calendar events for the same to occur across regions worldwide on the same day. 15th November, 2014 Saturday.

Does it have to be in a park?
If you're in a neighbourhood, it would make sense to build this is in a park. The Sangha is also an intimate space and sometimes neighbourhood parks can enable that environment.

How long does a Hahaha Sangha session last?
Min 30 minutes. Max 1 hour.

Is it laughter yoga?
No it isn't laughter yoga because the Hahaha Sangha is positioned to build safe spaces, through a network of Action Heroes, i.e you who chose to unlearn fear, laugh out loud, occupy space, claim visibility.

What if people around me get disturbed by the laughter?
Invite them.

Any does and don'ts ?
Do include. Don't exclude.
You are required to send in ten high res photographs of each session. Video is an additional welcome! We would be thrilled to share your reflections on the blog.

Any tips and tricks to make the Hahaha Sangha ?
Include conversations in gibberish , work out the 'chudail laugh' ( the witches laughter). We will send you a detailed version with tips and tricks included when you register with us.

Where else can it be if there is no park?
You decide. Could be under a big banyan tree. A car park or garage.  Near an abandoned post office ?  There are many possibilities. The space should feel inclusive, so please refrain from selecting sites of religious significance.