Last year just before March 8, International Women's Day, the Blank Noise Project set up a blog-a-thon, linking all of you and many other readers not on our mailing list, to each other through a particularly sensitive and private subject - the re-telling of experiences of street sexual harassment. We thought the solidarity in numbers, the anonymity the Internet offers and the significance of the day itself might allow some people to tell stories they had never told before. We expected some thoughtful stories, some provocative ones, some that would disturb and stay with us, perhaps forever.

But we did not expect over 240 deeply personal testimonials to come rushing out. We did not expect 131 comments on a single post. We did not expect the media to pick it up the way they did, with coverage ranging from ragional to international.

This March 8, we're hoping to take the journey begun last year one step forward. We've heard each other's testimonials, now let's share each other's actions. On March 8, 2007, The Blank Noise Project launches an actionhero website which collects no testimonials, no stories of bit-back hurt, no stories of indifferent onlookers.

Instead this space will launch with the stories of action plans. Give us your strategies. Your interventions. The time when you subverted a situation, flipped it on its head and gave the perpetrator no chance but to stop what he was doing. Give us your success story. Tell us which action hero you are. We will post strategies and interventions from eight countries up on our brand new space on International Women's Day.

Like Atreyee Day, who described an effective way she’d coped in Kolkata, with this incident.

The blog isn't launched yet. It will be when you send in your strategies and those that you've
been able to collect.

But essentially, we're asking for:
How different women have coped with street sexual harassment/ or dealt with it by turning the tables around. In Atreyee's case the man in question shifted from being a lewd perpetrator to someone a bit more vulnerable, who shared his childhood instead - and it happened because
1. She looked beyond the harassment
2. She developed her own strategy
Tell us about the situation that didn't cow you down. Which action hero are you? Send us a
post marked 'action hero' to blurtblanknoise@gmail.com and include a brief description of
which Action Hero you see yourself as.

We're asking for the description of any circumstance you’ve encountered that you haven’t
felt cowed down or overwhelmed by; one in which you perhaps spontaneously ‘strategised’ to
overcome harassment. We're asking for which Action Hero you relate to; it could be one
specific to your culture... it could be G-Girl. We're asking for a photograph of you – we won't
put up your name if you don't want it up. Send us an audio clip if you can – that'd be perfect.

We're also looking for volunteers to help on this project:

  1. Technical support to construct the website
  2. Volunteers to collect strategies from those who cannot access the Internet or cannot write: either writing down what they say, translating and/or recording audio (if anyone has a problem accessing recording equipment, we can help)
  3. Media outreach
Please email us if you can think you can help out: this is a two-month project only and we could do with all hands on board! Especially with reaching out to people who might not be on the Internet or able to write....

We will have lots more details for you when you email blurtblanknoise@gmail.com , the words "march 8 volunteer" in the subject line.


Blank Noise Team


Shenoy said...

Hi i came across this this blog when i read about your antics on Brigade Road in the Indian Express. Now, don't get me wrong here. I've got two sisters and i know what its like for women out there in the streets.
but imho, i think you guys are going about the whole wrong way. that whatever-it-was on brigade road you did gave me (or so my feeble mind gathered from the article) was that you're basically trying to make a spectacle out of yourself and in some perverse way want to be seen. just beat the guys up who eve tease...and trust me no one will object. actually the people on the streets will actually help you pelt and belt the guy once you tell them he's been eve teasing you. this i have seen with my own eyes a couple of times. and trust me calling it "street sexual harassment" may be "very clever wordplay" but that's that. try asking people on the roads what i means. they understand the term "eve teasing" not " street sexual harassment" which only adds more levels of perversion to an already serious issue.
and on a parting note i would also like to understand from you all, your choice of images for the collage at the top of this post. is it that you're on purpose revalidating the 'women are sex objects' thing? on purpose??? You have as your "heroes":
a) Wonder Woman : a comic book character expressly created to titillate (no pun intended) young boys and harmone-driven men and thus sell comics. the published intention may be noble but we all know. don't tell me empowerment means less clothes. talk about comic 'strips'. There’s a Wonder Woman movie coming up I think, and I’m pretty sure they’re doing to do a Halle Berry’s Catwoman number on it, a movie that was sold as ‘halle berry half naked in leather’
b) Surprisingly well-endowed powerpuff girls giving the viewer the “come hither boy” look. And here I thought powerpuff girls were these little girls. C’mon!
c) Rani of Jhansi. Good. But I would like to point out here that putting her alongside the others in this collage (and in the context I’ve written here) seems like an insult to her.
d) Yet another unmistakably in-your-face over-buxom lady. What’s that? Some Xena hangover? Who chooses these images. Do you think that all woman heroes have to be half naked or that they are heroes inspite of or because of their half nakedness.

That’s about it. I really did think there was something to your project/ movement. But now I don’t think so. There are so many, but if I was to choose a female action hero, top of mind I would say Dominique Francon. Actually there are more, but I’m sure yu’re happy with wonder woman. May I then suggest Barb Wire, especially from the movie?
now i could've done this anonymously, but i'd rather not.

Anonymous said...

Good Stuff! I've been reading about this project an awful lot these days and I'm mighty glad that somebodys actually decided to take this up.
And I'd suggest that you hold your next session outside a boys college.
Mailing you guys right away.

Picking up Women said...

The Blank Noise Project launches an actionhero website which collects no testimonials, no stories of bit-back hurt, no stories of indifferent onlookers.

Picking up Women said...

We expected some thoughtful stories, some provocative ones, some that would disturb and stay with us, perhaps forever.