28.4.13

Address Fear :



CNN IBN hangout with Amrita Tripathi
Anuja Gupta / Rahi, Kiswar Desai, and Jasmeen Patheja / Blank Noise

Reports of children being raped ( April 2013)

Warning: Do Not Panic #safecitypledge
Recall your first memory of sexual violence.  Continues building here

Take your #SafeCityPledge. Without Panic. Without Fear. Your issue. Own up.
Arrest the Issue.

To the police- Take your #SafeCityPledge. With Pride. Without defense. Your issue. Own up. Vardi Ki Shapath / Vardi Ki Izzat 


25.4.13

REDIFF

In solidarity with Kavita Krishnan:

]Thank you to all for the concern, affection and solidarity. 
I would like you all to know: I have asked Rediff to apologise publicly, and I also want them to file and FIR and pursue it to find out the identity of 'RAPIST' so that he is punished, as their representative promised on phone they would do. I have asked them for the screenshot of the chat - they are yet to show me their will to act in this matter. They haven't yet posted the transcript online either, - maybe rattled by my having gone public with this. 
I also want to publicly thank Mr. Onkar Singh from the Delhi Rediff office for his sensitivity and support - he was sitting by my side when this happened, and I probably would have taken much longer to figure out how to react, had it not been for him. He told me that Muslim politcal leaders also face awful communal abuse, as do women, on such chats. 

Below is the letter I have mailed to the Rediff editor at edc@rediffmail.com: 


Dear editor,
Rediff.com

Sir,
Mr. Ganesh Nadar fom Rediff had contacted me yesterday to participate in a live chat today, and I agreed. Mr. Onkar Singh from Delhi's rediff office came to my office today to facilitate the chat, which was to take place from 2 pm to 3 pm. The chat had been advertised as an opportunity to chat with me as one of the activists involved in the recent anti-rape protests.
During the chat, someone with a handle 'RAPIST' repeatedly intervened in capital letters. In one 'question' he said, "Kavita tell women not to wear revealing clothes then we will not rape them." The same man then posted another question several times: "Kavita tell me where I should come and rape you using condom." Both questions were in block capitals and very visible. Mr Nadar initially said live chats cannot be 'screened' - which I know for a fat is not true since I have been in such chats with other media groups. Later Mr Nadar said that the man in the Rediff Mumbai office monitoring the chat failed to spot the 'RAPIST' because there were 'so many questions.' I find this difficult to believe since this was the only handle in capital letters and the questions were also in capitals. 
Yet, no one from Rediff did anything to screen the guest - me - from such offensive questions, or to block someone with a handle of 'RAPIST' from the chat!
Mr. Ganesh Nadar has informed me that Rediff has taken a screenshot of the chat and is filing an FIR and sending the screenshot to Worli cyber crime labs to identify the 'RAPIST.' But I am yet to get a copy of the screenshot though I have asked for it; excuses are being made. I am also yet to receive the FIR number. Mr Nadar is very vague and contradictory about why the transcript of the chat is yet to be posted; whether the RAPIST's questions will be screened there; whether I will receive a screenshot or only the transcript (which will only have the questions I responded to); and other queries that I have.
I demand a public apology from Rediff for its failure to ensure that a chat organised by them was a safe space for me, a woman. Condoning and allowing such intimidatory behaviour against women keeps women out of the online space - just as rape keeps women off the streets. I resent this intimidation, and in this instance, hold Rediff squarely responsible for failing to keep 'RAPIST' out of the chat.
Expecting a public apology from you. 
Kavita Krishnan, 
Secretary, AIPWA

23.4.13

@shivtan tweets

#EndSH #SafeCityPledge #RingTheBell
#SegregationNoSolution

cross linked here






चार Action Heroes का सफ़र

Featuring: 
 #ActionHero Shivangini Tandon
#ActionHero Viveka Chauhan
#ActionHero Bedatri Dutta
#ActionHero Renuka
No.of Location: 4 ( one with each Action Hero)
City: Delhi
Time: 5-7pm
Date: April 11

Plot: As part of International Anti Street Harassment Week, Breakthrough and were in the midst of an all day twitter event examining the myth of security via gender and class based segregation. We're for inclusion. 
Each Action Hero selected a bus or metro route and chose to sit in the general compartment not the ladies only section. They tweeted their experience live.

#SegregationNoSolution #SafeCityPledge #RingTheBell #endSH 


*
Shivangini Tandon: @shivtan

Metro. Green Park- Nizammuddin
The Delhi Metro is a relatively new public transport system in New Delhi.  My experience during the tweetathon was positive. While many men did stare I did not feel threatened at any point. When I interviewed a woman who travels in the metro often she told me she chooses to use the women's compartment out of convenience because it allows for place to stand or sit, not because it makes her feel safer. At some point, during rush hour, a man even apologised to me for not being able to give me enough space to stand. I also believe that it is helping create a new social etiquette for behaviour in public spaces. New spaces change behaviour. The sanitary, orderly environment that the metro creates is unique to the normal chaos that a large Indian city typically offers.


It did feel like a war zone and we were deliberately putting ourselves in the line of fire to test our defense                                                           
" The as I decided to wade through the men to get to the gate a man apologised for being too close #wow #EndSH 


@shivtan live tweets here

*
Acti
on Hero Bedatri Dutta: @bedatri

Bus Number

It is of course easier to compartmentalize our daily lives into gendered sections- this is for women, that is for men. Be it in domestic spaces or even public spaces. The public transport system, for example, is modeled on this kind of segregation and one often considers this to be the best way of avoiding a conflict between the two sexes. Yes, that does make life simpler sometimes- i stick to my pink compartment, you stick to the rest of the train,and life goes on. But what does it really say of ourselves as a society if we cant even co-exist within the same space without a conflict? Why do we necessarily need to alienate and why cant we make an effort to co-exist through mutual respect? Why should i stick to one compartment or sit myself in one of the eight seats in a bus that seats thirty people? It was with these questions in my head that I decided to sit in the "general" seating area in a DTC bus. What was most amusing was the appropriation of a "general" space into being a "male" space. The general seats are considered to be "aadmiyon ka seat" and the decision of a woman to not stick to her "allotted space" is essentially seen to be an aberration. It didn't get violent or abusive but the disdain and disapproval was made amply evident by my co-passengers.It isnt a comfortable position to be in when one pushes the envelope and steps out of one's allotted space but how long can one really lay out one's life in terms of eight seats, one compartment and a strip of platform marked out in pink?

@bedatri live Tweets here




* Action Hero Viveka Chauhan 


  1. The ride on the Delhi Metro general compartment brought me back to how occupying space as a woman in Delhi is an effort. One has to push ones boundaries in a space where pushing boundaries is not a norm.
    That day on the metro I was made painfully aware of my presence there not as a human being, but as a woman. I noticed that every woman walking into the metro would shrink into a shell and just wait to reach there destination while every male eye bore into her skin from every direction-challenging, curious, lusty at times. But at the end of that ride I could say that I had lost my inhibitions and that I would not think twice the next time I travel by metro to use the general compartment

    @vivekachauhan live tweets here

22.4.13

Arrest the Issue





We believe that the police who offered the parents of the 5 year old rape survivor , should be arrested. We also believe that the police man who slapped the protestor should be arrested. We also believe that merely arresting the police does not arrest the issue.

Sustain your plan for change. It's a long walk. Be tireless. Got to keep at it.
Small Step. Big change

Blame comes too easy. Step out of it.

#SafeCityPledge

Delhi. Nehru Place

Blank Noise + Breakthrough teamed up in Delhi's Nehru Place last week to involve men to take the Shapath ( oath/ pledge/ promise)

#SafeCityPledge and #RingTheBell

Here's to Action Heroes: Shivangini Tandon, Viveka Chauhan, Bedatri Dutta
Megha Rao, Maria , Radhika Takru.


pics below


I will not tolerate injustice towards women. #SafeCityPledge
I pledge to always help women #SafeCityPledge

20.4.13

Vardi Ki Izzat : Are you worthy of this uniform?

Translates as
" Dear Police Inspector, Who should respect the uniform? - You first."



A 5 year old child was raped in Delhi. She was found after 2 days. The police offered her family Rs.2000/ and asked them to keep the issue quiet.

A protestor was slapped and hit by the police.

The police men have been suspended. Not arrested. Suspended.



via Gautam Bhan on FB 

The words "has been suspended" are gnawing at me again. A top cop, a middle cop, a bottom cop, an ordinary cop -- they slap, they abuse, they violate, they refuse their duty. Why is suspension an appropriate and the only response? Remove the word cop from the news headline today and a man slapped a woman in public. Bas. It's called assault. The response is not suspension but a criminal complaint. Unless cops realise the law applies to them as well, we can't move forward. Assault. Under the new laws, non-registering an FIR comes with six months imprisonment. These are crimes - they merit justice, not suspensions.

Via Shuddhabratta Sengupta at Kafila
"We have to ask where these 2000 Rupees come from. In all likelihood they represent a fraction of the floating fruits of extortion that are available in any police station on Delhi. And just as the extortion nexus between police and private transporters was one of the factors that enabled the rape and murder in the white bus in December 2012,so too does the peculiar detail of the police extortion economy feature as the key ingredient in the clumsy effort to ‘cover up’ this latest incident. Policemen can do this and create the objective conditions for a culture of rape on Delhi because they are confident of being able to get away with it.

Let the men in uniform know that their badges and insignia are the marks of shame."

Vardi Ki Shapath

The uniform/ Vardi bears an oath.
What is that pledge?

Loose Women and Other Urban Indian Tales

Anuradha Sengupta
Jalebi Ink


Dear all,

I am writing this to share a recent incident that brought me face to face with many issues I feel are of wider importance, and to use this as a collective sounding board for possible future action.

My idea is simply to tap into the wider experiences and insights of the community of people this may reach, who are invested in creating a more just and equal environment for everyone. Since some people reading this may not know me personally, I will begin with some information on myself.

I live in Kolkata. I am a freelance journalist and travel around a bit. I run an award-winning indie youth media collective called Jalebi Ink. I am also a single mom, by choice. I haven't faced any significant negative situations about my choice/status.

Till now. Here in Kolkata.

Two days back, a nasty run-in happened with some older boys (17-18) in my colony (Behala) and with their parents.

These boys had been harassing my 13 yr old son for a while. But he wouldn't let me intervene saying no, they will make more fun of me. Things came to a head in an incident in the park where these boys caught hold of him and in public pulled his pants down while the rest watched and clapped.

What I did and what followed was illuminating.

I went to the leader of this gang and asked him to cease immediately. The gang was there. They shrugged it off with non-chalance. Your son is a liar, they said. This is all in fun anyway. Shoulder shrugs and a lot of smug laughter.

An altercation followed with the boys, and their parents and neighbours which turned nasty and in the next 15 minutes, I (a five foot one inch woman) was surrounded by a pack of these boys and their parents, and even their maids. It was like a chakravyuh. They shoved me around. They proceeded to hurl every known gendered and cliched abuse. They threatened to beat me and my son up. "I will kill you and your son," the boy said. I slapped him and his pal who had smugly admitted that he had "only touched my son's pants". The boys came at me with their fists balled up. But were held back by some friends.

There were onlookers - no one did anything

They came to my house after that, with more people. Same thing happened. More abuses - and extolling of virtue of their sons. "Bring out your son" "Chool chhaata mohila" (short- haired woman), "we know what you are", "frustrated" "loose" "harlot" "your son is abnormal" etc.

My mother and father (who has Parkinsons) stood behind asking them to leave with folded hands. He was told to get lost.

The neighbours did nothing - they walked past on the stairs, looking away.

I filed a complaint. They too did - ostensibly as I had "assaulted" these 17-18 yr olds.

The cops came and asked my son questions. They were decent enough. They told my son the bullying will stop. All that. But they may have done that as I had called up several of my media friends who in turn would have put pressure on them. They said we'll see what we can do and went off.

The father of the leader of the pack of boys incidentally is a local real estate promoter with links to local councillors. The house they stay in is forcibly occupied and belongs to someone I know.

It is sad what this place has become. I feel that the more women get out of stereotypes, the more reactionary society becomes.

A chool chhata (short haired), pant pora (pant-clad), westernised, single woman = 'loose character', as per Bengali middle-class morality. This is a dangerous trend that I have noticed over the years - the simmering violence within middle-class Bengalis and the growing tendency to ostracize independent single women based on warped notions of morality. It's mob mentality in its most vicious form, the shocking part being that these are the so-called 'educated' bhadroloks, not uneducated people from deprived backgrounds.

Like a friend pointed out, the external trappings of middle-class society have changed. Everyone thinks they're 'modern' now. But the mindset is still feudal. Add to that a growing propensity for violence, and you have a dangerous cocktail.

It's like living in the dark ages. Everything they said to women then, they are saying now. Women have to have male figures around as "protectors" and "guardians".

The police fellow's pen had hovered for a while over the "son of" section in his report when I said write my name. When I fill govt or even other forms (as in banks etc), there is a predominant "Wife of" "Daughter of" section. His glance had changed when I told him I am a single mom.

Ever since my father was diagnosed with Parkinsons, my mother has taken over all the document, bank etc work completely. And yet, they still ask her to fill in who she is a wife of or daughter of. It is frustrating. When will this end? It was well-known writer Githa Hariharan, who slammed home the point that a mother can be the sole guardian of a child. Before that, a father's signature would always be required on forms. (http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120229/jsp/opinion/story_15193043.jsp#.UWZSOZNTCSo)

I want to drive home to these boys and their parents that what they did was wrong on so many levels. What they did to a kid. Their strange warped perception of women. And the fact that they think it is fun to bully a 13 year old. The fact that they invaded my space and abused me. They did not bother about an old and ailing person. The boys who labelled me as a 'fallen woman' were teens, some of them going to the new crop of 'international' schools that have mushroomed in Calcutta. They have a music band. And yet they have such regressive mindsets.

I am looking for ideas and suggestions. From media stories, justified legal intervention to interventions or campaigns in the colony maybe. Blank Noise is a great organisation that does some amazing campaigns on harassment faced by women. Check them out here: http://blog.blanknoise.org/

Regards,
Anuradha Sengupta

19.4.13

tiny pink spots ≠ inclusion

#SegregationNoSolution

Pink Taxi Service, for women by women

Women's reservation Bangalore Bus

Women's train compartment, Bombay

Ladies Special Pink Bus, Bangalore

Women's seat reserved in Tokyo Train

Women only auto rickshaw, Delhi

women only park , Iran

women's compartment, Delhi Metro



17.4.13

Everything I Want To Say To You :

This January Action Heroes were asked to say everything they wanted to say to the person who had violated them.

This is not a report.

It is rage.

The words expressed in "everything I want to say to my harasser" are solely those of the Action Heroes who have spoken out. We thank you, the Action Hero for the release.We don't encourage or propose a way of dealing with experiences, but we do attempt to create a space for action heroes to say NoI Never Ask For It. To know I wasn't alone in my experience, in feeling violated, angry, outraged.

Thank you,
BN Team

#SafeCityPledge

Delhi, Miranda House

#SafeCityPledge Delhi University

#SafeCityPledge Kolkata

#SafeCityPledge Mumbai

13.4.13

#SafeCityPledge Kolkata

"I will respect her saying No
I won't force / harass her to say yes"
#SafeCityPledge

#SafeCityPledge Kolkata


#SafeCityPledge #HahahaSangha

Pledge to occupy space. To Laugh out Loud. #HahahaSangha #SafeCityPledge




Team: Yelahanka Action Heroes ( Blank Noise locality specific initiative )
Video edit : Rahul Singh
Thank you- Srishti School of Art Design and Technology/ citizens of Yelahanka, Bangalore + Yelahanka Action Heroes

HaHaHa Sangha is a pledge to occupy public spaces and laugh out loud.
It is built on the existing idea of a laughter club. This is the first time we've initiated setting up an all women space, not because we support or promote segregation, but
because this was a genuine attempt to set new rules for public behaviour through collective action. Being fearless is a process. Learning to unlearn warnings. To stretch. Laugh. Relax. #ActionHeroes reported feeling happy through the day too.

You can start a Hahaha Sangha in your locality. Drop in an email at blurtblanknoise at gmail dot com.




Women and Social Spaces:

12.4.13

#SafeCityPledge Calcutta

" I will not turn a blind eye" #SafeCityPledge


Safe City Pledge #Kolkata
Dear Action Hero, take yours


Safe City Pledge #Kolkata


" I have been driving taxis for now 24 years. I will protect lady passengers who take my cab after 9 pm. Will ensure that the doors are locked from start to finish. I won't stop the car in the mid route"

" Every individual has the ability to influence change. #SafeCityPledge " : Blank Noise
What's your pledge?

4.4.13

Gynaecologist #SafeCityPledge


Gynaecologist @ScissorTongue takes the #SafeCityPledge
Identify your role in making the city safe
Pledge
small step. big change.