Speak out, ring the bell

(excerpt from Moments of  a Long Pause. Blank Noise video)

This past month has been all about the spectator at Blank Noise. We asked you to send in stories of street harassment: what you saw, how you reacted, what provoked you, how you negotiated with the larger public around you when it was someone else being harassed.
We have many, many spectator responses.

I was walking to the gurudwara early morning.. One boy was dragging a girl forcing her to come on the motor bike. I think they worked at night and were returning home. The boy insisted that the she come with him. I was observing and walking past. I passed a shiv mandir/temple and it struck me that I should go help that girl.

I went in and said "what is the problem?"
The boy asked me to mind my own business.

" Let me talk to this girl if she wants to go with you then I have no problem. If she doesnt want to go then i will not let her go".
The girl said that she does not want to go.

I shouted at him. His friends also said that he should let her go.

I told him that I would call the police.

My mobile was ready with the cop thana no.

He asked me what my objection was. I said there are 4 boys and 1 girl and I have been seeing this react. I said " will you leave her or not?! "

He asked me what relation I had with the girl to interfere. I said " human being"

Finally he let go off her hand. The girl went off with another boy. I got scared thinking that now the boys might attack me. I hopped into a taxi and went to the gurudwara. This was a huge experience for me.

We are still asking you to share your experiences as spectator's. If you are a male and have witnessed street harassment, write to us. Speak out. As we continue with our Spectator's Special - the "special spectator's who acted as well - we join hands to support another effort - Breakthrough's Bell Bajao.

Breakthrough is a fabulous group that does advocacy around rights issues using new media, and their latest campaign is Bell Bajao, asking you to speak out and take action when you encounter domestic violence. Ring the bell, register your protest, speak up and don't look the other way.

It ties in beautifully with the phase we are at with Blank Noise as well, right now - asking for men's responses to issues of violence against women whether in the private space (as the Bell Bajao campaign highlights) or in the public sphere (which is what Blank Noise is about).

The Bell Bajao campaign is up here and it tells you all about responding to domestic violence, provides a forum to share testimonials, games to play, a Wiki page that details both responses as well as what the law says.

More than anything, it asks you to speak out and share. Go to their blog and break the silence around domestic violence by speaking out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great initiative. A very interesting take on gender issues is given by Jackson Katz in this article: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/06/02/jackson-katz-violence-against-women-is-a-mens-issue

He claims that violence against women is a men's issue and not a women's issue as commonly thought.