25.2.17

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) : Towards Building Safe Spaces

BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) initiates dialogues , leading to possible projects towards a safe commute for women and all persons. Managing Director, BMTC, Dr Ekroop Caur met with various organisations and community leaders working on safe and inclusive spaces on Thursday February 23rd.

The agenda was to listen in to BMTC's ideas and vision for safety through the gender and sexuality lens, while also bringing together a group of community leaders, organisations, concerned individuals, with a collective concern and varying ways of approaching the same issue.

Groups/ Representatives present at the meeting include: Amnesty International India , Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore Bus Prayanikara Vedike, Blank Noise, B Pac, Durga, Equations, Sadana Mahila Sangha, Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology, Vimochana. 

Persons present include ( Chitra Talwar, Dipti Ramesh, Durang, Jananie, Jasmeen Patheja, Lekha, Mamatha, Madhura Rodrigues, Morgan Campbell, Priya , Radha Gundali, Rustam Vania, Sowmya Reddy, Subroto, Suma, V Chandrashree)


Small step. Big change.

We look forward to working together , towards building safe , welcoming, inclusive bus rides, mobility and Bangalore.

Initiated by BMTC, Sowmya Reddy and Jasmeen Patheja.


8.2.17

I Never Ask For It, Montreal






Montreal Action Heroes. I Never Ask For It talk, conference and workshop at Mc Gill University, Concordia University, and a workshop at Studio XX

The opposite of blame is to step in. When we say #INeverAskForIt , we are walking towards building collective responsibility; co creating safe spaces.

2017. I Never Ask For It talks and workshops begin.
Action Hero Ally > Step in if you are part of an organisation, community leader, and would like to co create I Never Ask For It from where you live
Volunteer/ Participate Action Hero > Step in if you would like to volunteer towards building or participating city specific events and activities( ie show up on the day of action)  



1.2.17

Action Hero Unrelenting Furiosa

Action Hero Unrelenting Furiosa

I have lived on this street all my life. He works as a car driver.
He’s about as old as my father, so he’s a good 20 years old or over.  And that morning I was walking to go get an auto, and go to work. So he turned around and started making kissing noises at me and I don’t know what spurred me on but something in me just tripped. I said I can’t be taking this kind of treatment from this man anymore because he’s also made comments about the size of my breasts several times when I have walked passed him in the past. So I walked up to him and asked him what his problem was. And I told him that don’t you know that irrespective of all the considerations, I am as old as your daughter or your grand daughter for that matter. And this is not the first time you have misbehaved and as usual he feigned innocence. He began telling people “ you’re so young why will I do something like that?”  and I think the worst part of that whole situation was that, of course lots of people stopped because there was commotion, but every single one turned around and asked me why I was making such a big deal about nothing. It didn’t help that this man was old, and looked vulnerable,  but even the women there said “you know what you shouldn’t  pay attention to these things, and you should just walk away, they’ll be like that only. You should know you shouldn’t make so much of noise about little things like these.” So it always starts with the smallest of these instances, they’re going to keep pushing you. They start with comments, then they’ll start with slight touches and they then will go all out. 
And only then will people start taking you seriously when they have evidence or proof of sexual abuse and violation. And what I was wearing that was actually a below the knee level length Kurta with leggings and a sweater also. It makes you feel dirty because somebody is talking about your body in a way that you don’t look at it yourself. And they may not realize it but it instills a sense of fear that if this person is noticing these things about me that he’s also thinking about , (the next thing my mind thinks) is that he’s probably thinking about violating it. So I’m constantly walking around in fear because he’s explicitly expressed his desire or his want to do something with my body without my permission. So you may dismiss it as small, people may dismiss it as little, but psychologically I’ve spent sleepless nights rerouting my paths and rerouting the route I take to work the next morning just to avoid this person, just to avoid that feeling of fear that he put in me every time he said something about my body.  That feeling of self consciousness, that feeling of just feeling dirty because that’s not how you see yourself. That’s not how you want other people to see you.
I was angry, there was so much anger and it actually made me realize that I’ve been harboring silently so much anger that I wasn’t even conscious of until that moment because I was shaking by the end of it.  And we shouldn’t have to suppress those feels of anger so much is what I realized that day. If something makes you angry you should be able to stand up for it , stand up for yourself without having to suppress and walk around quietly . just because there are people around you saying that its not a big deal. It is a big deal and I realized that from the time I was a child these instances and incidents that happen on a daily basis I just bottled up and just caused so much anger that was harming myself by not letting myself express it or not having people who would understand what it is that I was going through
Bangalore.


Step in to be Action Hero.
Co create  I Never Ask For It with your testimonial
Connect actionhero@blanknoise.org
 http://ineveraskforit-testimonials.tumblr.com

7.1.17

I Never Ask For It Action Heroes : Unite To End Blame



Action Hero Annie. An unknown man touched me. Andheri Station. Mumbai. 


Block 1 of I Never Ask For It Wall. Action Hero Vrushali


Saturday January 14th
Time: 4 pm - 9 pm
Location: MG Road Bus Stop (app Deccan Herald office + Brigade Road
Form: Public Participatory Action/ Performance
Media: Testimonial of garments and I Never Ask For It wall built by citizens/ individuals/ allies/ communities aka Action Heroes
Sign up here
Dear Co-Stranger,

When I was twelve, somebody leaned over and said - don't attract attention to yourself. That's what I have been doing all my life. When I leave my home, I clutch my belongings, adjust my clothes and will myself to be invisible. I occupy the tiniest strip of space. I am constantly moving sidewards to let men walk by, because I know they will most definitely "accidentally brush".

From some unknown age, a verbal survival guide becomes your holy book. "Don't take an auto when it's dark. Don't take a bus in the rush hour. Get into the crowded "Ladies" compartment even if the "General" compartment is half empty. When you sit in an auto, never sit close to the sides even if you want to feel the wind in your hair. Sit in the centre, so no passing hand can reach inside and grope. Don't smile at the auto driver. Don't smile at the shopkeeper. Don't smile."

By the time you're 18 you have permanent frown lines on your forehead. All your life, you have been biting your teeth and not smiling. In all public spaces.

This has to stop.
I want to be free from fear.

Who we are, where we go, what we wear, how we sit, stand, talk, walk in our very own cities. When we demand the need to make our cities non threatening , I don't expect anyone to think of me as their sister or mother, but to really look at women as citizens who have every right to be out on the streets, without any explanation. Sometimes we just love to walk, stand around, hang around, without looking 'available.'

We will write a new story. A story that is not rooted in fear but in being Action Hero.

No woman of any age colour or character ever deserves to be violated or what some may lightly call ‘eve teased’. There is no excuse for sexual violence. We are done being questioned. Controlled. Told.

If you know what  I am talking about, meet me again on  January 14th at MG Road ( opp Deccan Herald) bus stop between 4 - 9 pm. Bring along the garment you wore when you experienced any kind of sexual violence, threat , intimidation, abuse. Your garment is your story, your witness, your truth. You are not alone.Your garment will stand together with another garment: connecting your experience with another Action Heroes. Together, we are strong. We are safe. We resonate.  I Never Ask For It.

In solidarity,
Action Hero
Blank Noise

9886840612 / actionhero@blanknoise.org

Testimonial in letter extracted from Blank Noise Blogathon 2006



5.1.17

List of Protests in Bangalore In Response To Molestation On New Years Eve

Hosted by a range of organisations, communities and citizen led initiatives


7th Jan, Saturday,  11 am - 1 pm
Human chain outside Vidhan Soudha/ Karnataka High Court
Touch Me Not
Led by Bangaloreans, citizens, groups


7th Jan, Saturday,  4 30 pm - 6 pm
Cubbon Park, Bandstand
#WomenInThePark : affirming our right to enjoy public spaces
Bring a books, music, games
Led by She Collective Hub


7th Jan, Saturday, 7 pm
M.G. Road and Brigade Road
Led by Citizens For Bengaluru ( organisation)


10th January Tuesday 5 p.m  
M.G. Road and Brigade Road Outside Cauvery Emporium
“Reclaim the space. Dress the way you wish! Let us be visible and stand united!” Join us on 10th January 2017 at 5 p.m in M.G. Road and Brigade Road to reclaim the space. Dress the way you wish! Let us be visible and stand united!
Contact : 080 25492783 Email: vimochana79@gmail.com; kavi.naturesmiles@gmail.com
Led by Vimochana, The Forum for Women's Rights, concerned students, citizens, working women from all sectors.


11th January Wednesday 8-9 pm
Led by a cohort of activists/ groups including Why Loiter , Safe City, Fem Positive,
Also on 8th January, Sunday meet at  Bandstand, Cubbon Park 4:30 PM onwards on Saturday


January 14th 11:30 am- 2:30 pm
Led by Bengalore citizens
Contact : Sangam Iyer: +919916285577


January 14th, Saturday 4 pm - 9 pm
M.G. Road / Brigade Road
Unite To End Blame. No Excuse
Together, we are strong.We are safe.
We resonate. I Never Ask For It.
Action built by public participation:
Bring along the garment you wore when you experienced any kind of sexual violence, threat , intimidation, abuse. Your garment is your story, your witness, your truth. You are not alone.
Led by Blank Noise, allies, and its Action Heroes/citizens ie you.
Contact : actionhero@blanknoise.org  +91.9886840612




Is this the time for #NotAllMen ?

This hashtag has been trending on twitter in light of the new years eve incident.

To whom so ever initiated this:
Of course not all men commit violence against women. 
Many women and girls are warned often by many men (brothers, father, husband, 'protectors') and society at large to fear another man, to "be careful" ie to be careful of another man. 
Before this goes into a man vs women reductionist view - 
In an environment of collective outrage and shock after the new years eve incident , #NotAllMen is defensive ,and this is not a time to be defensive, but to understand , but to empathise and step in. This is the time to take collective responsibility , express solidarity, and even go beyond solidarity to saying that violence against women affects you too in one way or another. Without empathy, and with this hashtag, you are becoming the opposite of the hashtag you suggest. 

shout out to Sachin Kalbag for expressing a similar sentiment, where he proposed a #WeWontTolerateIt 

4.1.17

Step By Step Guide For A Minister To Respond And Take A Proactive Approach

Post New Years Eve comments from ministers

Karanataka Home Minister, G Parameshar
Unfortunately, what is happening is that on days like New Years, Brigade Road, Commercial Street, or MG road, a large number of youngsters gather. And youngsters were almost like westerners. They tried to copy the westerners, not only in their mindset but even in their dressing. So some disturbance, some girls are harassed, these kind of things do happen.
Reporting To Remember , Karnataka Home Minister, G Parameshwara for dismissing, normalising,  hence justifying sexual violence.

Samajwadi Party Leader, Abu Azmi
"In these modern times, the more skin women show, the more they are considered fashionable. If my sister or daughter stays out beyond sunset celebrating December 31 with a man who isn't their husband or brother, that's not right" Abu Azmi
Reporting To Remember Samajwadi Party Leader Abu Azmi for justifying, blaming, allowing violence against women.

Where there is blame, violence against women is furthered.  Blaming youth, west, clothes, women,  reveals a lack of taking ownership and responsibility. Instead our home minister says “ these kind of things do happen”.   When violence is normalised, it is accepted. This is the problem.

Step By Step Guide For A Minister To Respond And Take A Proactive Approach What to say, do, think, feel when an incident on sexual and gender based violence is reported


  1. Express Feeling And Connection : We are ‘disappointed’ / ‘angry’ / ‘distressed’/ and we understand how you feel.
  2. Be proactive. Step In: We need to transform attitudes and environments that allow violence against women. We know that women face violence and sexual assault on a daily basis and we need to be better prepared on how to respond to them.
  3. Express concern and intention: Freedom from fear is a basic right. We want want all women and every person to feel safe. We must tackle all factors in our environments that threaten a sense of security. We understand that such experiences can cause fear and anxiety in citizens. A city or place belongs to its people ( women, men, trans) and it is our responsibility to enable ownership and freedom.
  4. Take A Step Towards Affirmative Action: We know that we need to create an environment in which people can go anywhere, anytime, any how without the weight of fear on their shoulders.  
  5. Taking Charge Instead of Denying or Dismissing : We are working to identify the perpetrators and prosecute them under the ambit of the law. We know that our responsibility does not end here. We will strive to tackle larger issues that produce such violence and work to ensure that this is not repeated.
  6. Accept having failed and propose a plan : We know that we have failed our citizens here- in our response, in building safe spaces, and in creating environments conducive to their wellbeing. We pledge to strengthen our efforts to re-evaluate existing policies, mechanisms, and State apparatuses to identify the flaws and gaps that contributed to the collective trauma that we are experiencing. We will work to shift and implement these policies, and ensure that we fund and support initiatives that contribute to building safe, inclusive, free of violence, free from fear.
  7. Communicate Plan and Follow Up. Submit a monthly report on plan, progress and implementation


    edit credits Rishita Nandagiri and Shweta Krishnan

Bangalore Action Heroes : In Response To Mass Molestation

Freedom From Fear. Freedom From Warnings
No excuse for any sexual violence.
No justification.
We are done being questioned. Controlled. Told.
I Never Ask For It
#BengaluruMolestation



Brigade Road. Bangalore Action Heroes 2006


Do reach out if you wish to organise a response to Bangalore's New Year eve molestation. 
We are planning an action that needs you, our Action Hero team in full strength and spirit.
Date/ Time / Place will be confirmed asap.

2 requirements:
i) back end/ action organising team .
ii) a team that participates ie shows up on the day of action.
Date to be announced.

In solidarity,
Blank Noise Team


3.1.17

Reporting To Remember : Karnataka Home Minister

Unfortunately, what is happening is that on days like New Years, 
Brigade Road, Commercial Street, or MG road, a large number of youngsters gather. And youngsters were almost like westerners. They tried to copy the westerners, not only in their mindset but even in their dressing. So some disturbance, some girls are harassed, these kind of things do happen.

Reporting To Remember , Karnataka Home Minister, G Parameshwara for dismissing, normalising,  hence justifying sexual violence. Where there is blame, violence against women is furthered.  Blaming youth, west, clothes, women,  reveals a lack of taking ownership and responsibility. Instead our home minister says “ these kind of things do happen”.   When violence is normalised, it is accepted. This is also the problem.


Link




Step By Step Guide To What A Minister or Authority Can and Should Say - Coming Up.
The opposite of blame is stepping in. #StepIn