Action Heroes got together across cities in India on Dec 13 with a common script. One Action Hero per city had access to the script for the meeting. We thought of sharing the script to give you a sense of what the meet- up was about! Please note that some of the dates mentioned below have extended until further annoucement. To get involved towards actualizing any of the ideas mentioned below- shout out at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dec 13 2009
Objective of the meeting
1. to meet volunteers from the city- and form a team
2. to discuss street sexual harassment in your city
3. to focus on the next 4 months and propose strategies for next the plan of action
4. to assign duties and responsibility towards the next 4 months. month by month
Please give this to the person sitting on your right and ask him her to read out the next 5 lines in bold:
Warning: This script may make you feel a bit like being in a reality tv show.
You are requested to put your phone on silent.
We need to identify the following people in our group today
photo documenter- (add name)
person who writes minutes of the meeting-
person to write a report after the meet-
Each of you should identify a stranger outside of this bn meet, sharing your immediate public environment and maintain eye contact with the person.
Smile after you make eye contact and when you're done let's start this meeting!
(questions to read out- who did you smile at? why did you chose that person? was the person smiling back? was the person comfortable? was it an exchange? was it seen as threatening? did you smile at a child? did you
smile at a woman/ if you're female? or male if you're male? did you feel comfortable doing so? did you feel uncomfortable?) time keeper- 7 minutes
Please return the script to the person who arrived with it.
(read out) Hello!
We are never too sure of how many people actually turn up,
but we should be able to conduct this meeting with a minimum of 2 persons.
Any number is a good start!
The person reading the script has volunteered to do so. There is no one definite BN representative here, nor
is there one word or one definition to describe Blank Noise. Ofcourse there are long time members and action heroes
who have built the collective, therefore contributed in varying capacities. Yet Blank Noise is interpreted by each of us in different ways;
and we hope to arrive on that over this meet.
It may help to think of it this way " I am not here to see what BN is doing in this city, but rather what can I do? How can I be involved?
How can I make it happen? How can we work collectively? What can I commit? How can I commit to actualizing some of the ideas I propose?"
But before jumping at how you can 'get involved it would be important to answer:
Person with script has to answer question first and then identify another person
in the group to answer the question next.
Who are you? and What brings you here? What makes you want to address 'eve teasing?'
Please make this as personal as possible
please add if this is your first bn meet or if you're an existing action hero?
( about 5 minutes per person)
What are the words that come to your mind when we say street sexual harassment/ violence/ teasing/ intimidation?
(group spends 7.5 minutes in total)
2. About Blank Noise:
a. What does Blank Noise mean to you/ what are the words that come to your mind when we you say Blank Noise?
One person should write down list of words mentioned. Each person at the meet to answer-
(group spends 7.5 minutes in total)
This segment will be discussed and blogged about further- thank you for adding the words.
b. Blank Noise is also:
a volunteer led collective committed to addressing the issue of street sexual harassment/ street sexual bullying/ 'eve teasing'/ intimidation/ violence
b. our focus has been on generating public discourse to what was once seen as a non-issue i.e. 'eve teasing'
c. a large part of our work has been on seeking definition of street sexual harassment. is there a common definition when harassment for one
is flirting for another? or if in some cases stalking is seen as a way of flirting?
c. the collective is built on lived experiences. We collect testimonials and then disperse them back in the public through various forms- thereby generating public debate
d. every volunteer is an action hero. he/ she drives the project, gives it shape. the collective has been built on this person's enthusiasm and commitment.
there is an exchange- it's not so much about only doing something about 'those' victims/ survivors, but about understanding your own relationship with the issue and therefore with blank noise.
( older action heroes can share their experiences of volunteering- personal account)
e. at blank noise we are here to address the issue- and we don't we don't want to do so by attacking a group or a party. our approach is sometimes more investigative and about open spaces for
discussion rather than always concluding one stand.
f. bn approaches 'eve teasing' as an issue that concerns men as much as it concerns women. we need to address notions of masculinity and male behaviour to take any discussion forward.
Blank Noise is not:
is not anti men- atleast 50 % on bn is male. we have started archiving responses from men at blog.bnguy.org and will soon be announcing a call for project proposals.
is not only youth oriented- yes there are more youth linked with the project but that is because so far we have worked on the internet but we truly believe that 'eve teasing' and street sexual
violence is everyone's issue
is not about only one class of people- sometimes we get interpreted that way because of our choice of medium. our street actions and public interventions however break that idea
We are working towards a structure and hope to organize ourselves in a manner that allows us to work with volunteers from different communities and background and therefore kinds of media
appropriate to that community.
PLEASE GIVE THIS SHEET OF PAPER TO THE PERSON SITTING OPPOSITE YOU.
Hello person sitting opposite- please read the following out loud:
We need pen/ paper/ pencil for this
Please make a sketch of what you were wearing when you experienced street sexual harassment
for the guys- sketch a garment you think women would experience sexual harassment in.
unless you know someone who was wearing that particular garment- in which case sketch the garment you remember.
time (5 mins)
There are 4 letters in the group. 4 different people are to read them out loud.
12-15 minute discussion on the drawings each member has made and
group to share insights/ respond to each others drawings and experiences
suggested questions- What does it mean to say 'she asked for it'?
give the paper to the person sitting on your left.
please read out loud the text below
About I NEVER ASK FOR IT campaign:
'I never ask for it', will bring together garments worn by women when they experienced sexual harassment or were 'teased' via a public
installation. We intend to use the final installation to challenge the popular assumption that women 'ask for it' because of the clothes they wear.
The campaign seeks to address the notion of blame, shame and guilt that women experience besides being violated.
Over the next 3 months starting Jan every fortnight we will working towards a clothes collection drive.
We would like a clothes collection drive on Jan 9 ( date changed. will be announced soon)
Proposed plan of Action
Jan 9 : I NEVER ASK FOR IT clothes collection drive
who will collect clothes- everyone
how will each of you collect clothes?( ask friends/ family / develop your own strategies)
how will you collectively collect clothes? ( choose a location/ community/ college/ office)
decide on 2 venues- where you will collect clothes at for the next month
letters- i never ask for it- the letters you read out nee to be translated to the local language.
PLEASE PROPOSE / BUILD ON THIS PLAN OF ACTION/ SUGGEST STRATEGIES/
Please appoint the following persons-
event co ordinator:
event co ordinating team:
things to prepare at our end
kit- posters/ info
Please give the paper back to the person who arrived with the script:
Another immediate Plan of Action- 15 minutes
One of our all time fave actions involves being idle women.
Jan 2nd - (date changed. will be announced soon)
street action- on being idlestreet action- on being idle
This intervention is created simultaneously across cities in India. It based on the simple premise of being idle and 'without purpose' on the street. The event is announced on the blog and any one can participate, thereby becoming an Action Hero. The Action Hero challenges her comfort level and establishes herself as someone who belongs to city without apology. At some interventions Action Heroes are asked to come wearing clothes they have always wanted to wear but not worn because they felt they might be 'asking for it'. It becomes challenging for both the Action Hero to be there and not look preoccupied or anxious, but instead leaning back and doing nothing. It becomes challenging for the street to witness women relaxed, looking back and doing 'nothing'. Testimonials are privately dispersed in the form of letters to the public via which the public is invited to participate. Reactions vary from families joining in, to people tearing up the letter, or a row of men waiting for something to happen often walking up to an Action Hero and asking her why she is standing, whether is she waiting for someone? or if she wants a cigarette?
if someone has been part of the intervention before please share about the event
May we propose this action for Jan 2nd? It would kickstart a series of events for 2010 and would be an important event before the first clothes collection drive.
it is important that we try and have the events on the same day across the country. ofcourse smaller core team meets dont need to happen on the same day.
To build on the street action of being idle
1. name location + why
2. time + why
3. do not bring bags or anything you think 'protects' you
4. carry a whistle/ appoint one person to purchase whistle
why whistle? incase of emergency only.
5. letter- the team has to print letters/ photo copy letter and
6. TRANSLATE the letter to the local language/ languages of the city
The team should decide who will co ordinate the next event.
The co ordinator has to put together a team/ assign responsibilities towards materializing the next event
please note down all phone numbers
Before leaving the team should list all names. take each participants photos and make a list of skills people think they can bring to the table.
Prepare a list of colleges, schools, possible allies in your city. Maintain a city specific directory.
5 minutes- recap/ reflection/ any thoughts/ insights?
Script was prepared by Saptarshi Chakrabarty- super Action Hero and Jasmeen.
Meeting reports + photos are shared on this blogsite. ( links with the cities named below)
Action Heroes on facebook have added the meet photos to the Blank Noise community group: