Sexual Assault and the Elderly :

BBC Radio documentary bringing attention to sexual assault as experienced by the elderly.
Link here 


Talk To Cop:

What would you say or ask of the police in your city ? Ask anything. We will take take your question forward in an interview series. List your questions below.Tweet #TalkToCop

Guidelines include:
* ask even if you never imagined yourself engaging with the police. give yourself time to imagine. take a minute or more.
* this is a call for engagement. attack is easy. try to think of something that you as an individual would like to know or understand.

This is part of a larger series connected to engaging police. 

Action Hero Lijya Perayil, has been instrumental in shaping this space within Blank Noise through her internship over the summer.

Questions asked by Action Heroes below #TalkToCop

Shilpa Phadke:
How can we address the problem that many women are actually afraid to approach policemen especially at night?

I would like to ask: What can we do to ensure that when women want to file and FIR for sexual harassment the policeperson on duty registers an FIR rather than fobbing the woman off.

Naksha Errapa
Have you been exposed to other cultures? Does the department have programs for interaction with other state police departments or postings in other states?

Soutik Banerjee
How does your family deal with the fact that you are always away at work when there is a festival and never at home? How does it feel to work hard for a force which the media never lends any credit?

Chryselle D'Silve Dias
I want to ask: How does a woman get a policeman to take her complaint seriously when he seems to have judged her already based on what she is wearing?

Sanjana Janardhan
I would like to ask: what goes through your mind when someone comes to report an incident of abuse or violence at your station? What is your first reaction, and who do you think of calling first?

Shuktara Lal
1. Could you explain why, often, when women go to lodge an FIR on an act of sexual harassment and/or assault they have faced, they are told to change their complaint so that the charges appear to be less serious in nature?
2. Why are police stations at times reluctant to lodge FIRs in cases of sexual assault? If a police station advises us to not lodge an FIR in such a case, what would you suggest we do?

Kunal Kiran's Friend:
Have you ever taken an initiative to get a new way of curbing down eve teasing  sexual harassment be practised by the police?

Sunayana Roy
What will make you feel more supported by me, the average tax-paying citizen? In turn, how will you make me feel safer in my own city/town/village?
Mandy Van Deven
I want to ask: how do you expect women and LGBTQ folks to believe you're there to ensure their safety when so many police officers engage in unchecked street harassment of women and LGBTQ folks?

Annie Zaidi
I would like to ask: "What do you think I expect from you, as a citizen and a taxpayer who has, effectively, hired you and given you a special status as a man in uniform representing the nation and state?"

Shreya Ila Anasuya
You often participate in many women's rights and LGBTQ rallies. Sometimes you march along to make sure traffic is undisrupted, and most of the time you stay on until the event ends.
Would you like to engage more deeply with these events? Would you like for activists to explain to you what they are doing and why they are marching?
Have you ever arrested an activist for peaceful non-violent protest? Have you used physical or verbal violence against an activist organising such an event? If you have hit or verbally abused an activist, why did you do so?

Inderjit Kaur

i )tu kitni galaan tey kasam naame chukkey hain? khaskar kay aurtaan ni madad karni ? senior citizen ? How many pledges have you taken so far ? What is your pledge for helping women? and for senior citizens ?

ii) teri life vich government kitni facility deni hai? / what facilities does the government give you ?

Bell Bajao
What do you think are the legal rights of a rape survivor?

Jasmeen Patheja 
Why do so many of you speak language of intimidation + indifference during a crisis?

From Kunal Kiran’s friend
Do you think you are able to do your job, in the way it was to be done?
Kunal Kiran:
Have you ever taken an initiative to get a new way of curbing down eve teasing be practised by the police?
Inderjit Kaur
What is the fastest and easiest way you can help someone? “Police station te jaakay, chakkar nahin kataney. dont make us run in circles. kal ao. time nahin hai. pareyshani nahin samajhde”
Mitali Nath
I would like to ask why an FIR is denied to someone who wants to report, in so many parts of the country?
Rishita Nandagiri:
1. As you understand and relate to it, what does 'safety' mean?
2. As police officers you must build a sense of camaraderie, of respect and friendship. Perhaps you are inspired by your colleagues and fellow police officers, perhaps you admire them, maybe they were kind to you and friendly and welcoming, and perhaps you have things in common and understand each other. How do you feel when one these people acts in a way that goes against the IPS code? How do you feel when they are accused of corruption, of negligence, of breaking the law? How do you feel when everyone paints all of you with the same tarnished brush- that you are all corrupt, that you are all looking for ways to make money, that you are all compromised, that you have no ethics? How do you feel when this happens? How do you act, how do you stop it, how do you make it different?
V.S. Elizabeth:
What is a woman supposed to do when she is sexually harassed on the street or in a bus by a total stranger? Where should she go? Should she report it at all?
Jasmeen Patheja
Would you like to be liked?
Rishita Nandagiri:
How do you ensure the safety of *all* people- sex workers, migrant workers, LGBTQI persons? How do you ensure their safety in your police stations? How do you treat them as citizens?
Jasmeen Patheja Why do so many of you speak language of intimidation + indifference during a crisis?

@Bell_Bajao What do you think are the legal rights of a rape survivor?

(Akshay S Dinesh) @asdofindia What will you do if you see a couple kissing in a park?

Cops pay lacs in #bribery to become one and then recover the same through illegal means using their badge and uniform #talktocop how true?


India With Gaza


Tapas Pal :

Image source TOI

Tapas Pal is reported to be in hospital and has been advised complete bed rest.
report dated July 8. 2014

Who is Tapas Pal?
Tapas Pal is an actor, and member of Parliament from the Trinamool Congress.

Here's what took him to hospital:
1. While addressing a rally pre elections (date) Tapas Pal made statements instigating violence against women. He threatened rape.
 "If any CPM [Communist Party of India - Marxist] man is present here, listen to me. If you ever touch any Trinamool Congress worker or their families, you have to pay for this.If any rival touches any Trinamool woman, father or child, then I will ruin their generations. I will let loose my boys, they will commit rape. Yes, they will commit rape," the MP warned.
2. The video of him addressing the rally and instigating rape was released by the media on June 30th.
3. The release of the video sparked outrage and several activists have demanded his arrest
4. The Trinamool congress said it was 'insensitive of him', Mamta Banerjee called it a 'big blunder'
 Derek O Brian mentioned that Mamta Banerjee is 'hopping mad'. Since then the Trinamool party has taken no further action.
5. Tapas Pal is reported to have submitted a written apology. His party has accepted his apology.
6. Derek o Brian insisted we read it, across several television channels.

To watch:
Is an apology enough for a rape threat , source NDTV
Should trinamool mp be sacked for rape threat 

In the meantime , A PIL has been filed against Tapas Pal by a lawyer Samit Sanyal , report dated July 2nd, 2014

Tapas Pal urgently needs the following for complete recovery:
(please add below)

blog post compiled by Action Heroes Lijya Perayil and Jasmeen Patheja.

I Feel Safe

Compiled and shared by Action Hero Lijya Perayil:

We asked Action Heroes on facebook and twitter to recall when, where and how you felt most safe. 
What does being safe feel like? 

Responses to #IFeelSafe published below:

I felt very safe in Mumbai when I was tipsy or travelling or sitting in bus stands at 3am- Action Hero 901

At present, in India, I feel this kind of safety at home or at a friend's home. I have felt it during brief stints at Bandra (Mumbai), parts of Imphal, Palolim (Goa) and Mussoorie. I do not feel it in any public space in Calcutta. –Action Hero 902

In daytime, with other girls around, in brightly lit spaces, in surprisingly remote parts of this capital city of ours. But it doesn't take much for this city (Delhi) to go from warm and friendly to dark and menacing - One car too many pulls up too close when you're walking alone, one too many lecherous gazes, one too many attempts at body contact. –Action Hero 903

Walking down Oxford Street in Cambridge, USA, at seven in the evening in spring, alone, chatting on the phone with my aunt, and heading home from college. In India, sitting with my school friend at Rabindra Sarovar Lake, Kolkata just before dark, three years ago. –Action Hero 904

Feel most safe in libraries. Although libraries + institutions have a patriarchal origin, still feel they are neutral in threat. @culture_curate

When I've broken the ice with a complete stranger. Established familiarity. A smile. An exchange. A conversation. @jasmeenpatheja

Running after dark in the UK. Alone or with other women. Nobody bothers you. @chryselled
In Goa. People are used to tourists so regular Indian dress codes don't matter. Wear what you like. @chryselled

When I see other women walking at night and when the street lamps are on. @jayshre89

When I'm in Mumbai. I let down my guard, like I can enjoy life, can walk and be quiet within myself. 

Your tweets got me thinking and it’s sad but I'm yet to feel completely safe in public sphere esp at nights. @Kanushree

I feel safe everywhere. Anywhere. Anytime. If you fear, they have already won @sapnabhavnani

I feel most safe w/my husband at home drinking coffee & am talking abt the day. He's my greatest 
supporter. @DigiAbby

I feel safe on the streets in the day or when I am with my family, my partner, in familiar places. Familiarity = safe feelings @supershnoo

I feel safe when I walk alone on roads, anytime, anywhere FREE FROM FEAR @Kracktivist

When I am with my parents @ashadevos

In school, with my teachers and friends. But specifically, early to middle school. With age, unfortunately, comes the realisation that no place is really safe. It felt nice, very comforting. To know that nothing could happen to you within those walls, that there are people looking out, having your back and always wishing the best for you. Sadly, this notion too has been shattered with the news of school staff molesting students. @Bedatri

I felt safe sitting naked in a public sauna with men and women. This was in Germany where it was normal to experience a public sauna with men and women. -Action Hero 34

Only when am with my friends, not in home, not in street, not in office. -Binita Mukherjee

The only time I have felt truly safe- and it was just this once- was running along a beach one early summer morning. The only people out and about were with their children and with their dogs. I only noticed because they were there, not because I was looking to. It was quiet. The wind was whispering. I did not think of anything but how the soft the sun was, how fast and strong and powerful I was. -Rishita

I feel safe in the confines of my home or around my family. No where in India I have ever felt safe. Having lived in 3 different states in India from Rajasthan, Karnataka & now in Odisha, I have lately experienced that all the Indian cities are more or less the same. The same leud comments, staring eyes, unsafe public transport even during daytimes. I feel safe only when I am surrounded by any of my family members anywhere I go. -Ishita

My car makes me feel safe. Then I don't have to deal with potential harassers on the streets or in the public transport. It's sad that excluding myself from the public space and being ensconced in my car, I feel the safest. -Neha

Last night, late late night, I had to get back from a fairly unfamiliar part of town to the other end where my parents live. This long journey involved a bus ride, a share auto ride and finally an auto. I was, I must admit, worried about the auto ride. The safest I felt was when I was on the bus. It was not only about the presence of people, because even the share auto was full, it wasn't physically safe. While travelling, I think I feel safer and more responsible in public transport. Even my parent's car feels like a suffocating prison at times. My engagement with the city is more pronounced and I feel like a participant in the city when I am on a bus. -Katheeja

I feel most safe when I am at home, when I am with my mother and sister. I think even after being an educated, independent woman...the sense of complete assurance on being safe only comes when I am with my family. Anindita Tagore

In my car behind the wheel, with the doors locked. In my house with friends, family, with the doors locked. In my office with my colleagues - mostly women, and a few men so gentle. Never in public transport, never in the open. -Avni

When I see more women on the streets. @jasmeenpatheja

When I see other women out and about, working or at leisure, esp at night. @SunayanaRoy

In the sun, or well-lit spaces with with other girls/women around. But Delhi turns, all too soon! @AmritaTripathi

Delhi Metro's women's coach is the safest place in national capital for me @vani_taurus

I feel safe easily at protests+gatherings! Reclaim the Republic, TBTN Calcutta, Reclaim the Night Delhi, Blank Noise meeting @shreyilaanasuya

When I attempt to educate, agitate, organise for change @shreyilaanasuya

I feel safe at Pride and Azaadi marches, during conversations with respectful and consent-centric comrades in arms @shreyilaanasuya

I feel safe when I can express myself fully, especially through writing (speaking truth to power) -- thanks for this hashtag! @shreyilaanasuya

When any disclosure of gender-based violence by anyone is not met with pity, blame or denial @shreyilaanasuya

I feel most safe at home. That's all. @kiranmanral

I feel safe when an elected head of the country has #justice for women on the agenda not just woman’s #vote. @jasmeenpatheja

@Blank_Noise is asking people to tweet when + where they felt most safe: I don't know if #IFeelSafe ever. Not really anyway. @mandyvandeven

I feel safe when am with #ActionHeroes @anniezaidi @supershnoo @maria_delrio @mandyvandeven @s_purba @jasmeenpatheja @sunayanaroy @anexasajoop @BLANK_ NOISE

I feel safe when a stranger reaches out. Intervenes in a little way to change the scene. @BLANK_NOISE

I feel safe when I take a risk and it feels worth it. The risk being against every warning about my safety and security @BLANK_NOISE

What place safer than home? @Monoshita

I feel safe when men's eyes find me not my ass or legs when we pass in the street. @KyraOcity

For those who sleep with a knife under the pillow, is the bedroom safe? Is what is private also safe? @BLANK_NOISE

I feel safe wherever women feel safe. I feel an uneasy rumble within, anxiety, panic, when I see a woman under threat! @DanHusain

I feel most safe at home @s_purba

I feel safe when other people are around. Safety in numbers. At night I want spaces that are well lit. @biocouture

I feel safe when I make the effort to ignore them and how they look at me. @mayameme

When people don't stare at me in public spaces. –Action Hero 905

Safety for me means wearing whatever I want without having to shield parts of my body with my arms/a bag/files and books etc. It means open-bodied safety -- I can walk and sit without slouching, in any way I like. Safety means I can wear a sari, a salwar kurta, a pair of tiny shorts and a tank top and I will be respected for these choices. Safety also means I can speak in whatever volume I choose to, in whatever language I want (as long as I do not say something that may be offensive to someone else). –Action Hero 906

Does ur feeling of safety get shaped by the governing political party? @BLANK_NOISE                      

I don't think that Indian politicians influence or change the way we #FeelSafe at all. Most of them don't *get* the issue. @chryselled

I have felt most safe at the time when I went out with my brother and a couple of his friends in the night for ice-cream. I was 17. My brother and his friends about five to six years older to me. It was 12.00 am and I stood near the car along with the others- joking and enjoying my ice cream, feeling as safe as I can feel: protected by all of the nice men around me. I describe them as nice because- of all my interactions with them, they have at every instance, made me feel like trusting them. And I do. They’re well-behaved and its great fun to be with them. They are brother-like and take care of me. It certainly feels good to be taken care of. But when I brought to memory this experience of the moment when I felt most safe and mull over it now at 21, I’m thinking... Can I not take care of myself?  - Lijya
P.S: The act of expressing makes you an Action Hero. The Anonymous entries thus have been tagged- Action Hero 901/902. Thank you all for your responses!

About Action Hero Lijya Perayil-
I am 21 and a student at the Azim Premji University. Am currently on a three month internship at Blank Noise and want to contribute to it in whatever little way that I can, as I find its project exciting and worthwhile. It’s been a little over a week since I started out here and I’m rearing to go!

Lijya has been reflecting and articulating her thoughts on safety, Action Hero-ism, citizenship here !
Follow her on twitter @womanaquarter