No Means No!
For many of us 16 days of action on elimination of violence against women is a very important time in the year. It starts on Nov. 25, the international day for elimination of violence against women and ends with Dec. 10, the International Human Rights Day.Many women’s groups conduct a series of programmes like rallies, film shows, public meetings etc. Vacha has some special activity in each of the 12 to 15 poor communities where it is active with a girls’ empowerment programme. We conducted activities like rallies, photo exhibitions, fairs, street plays, film screenings, signature campaigns, online poetry and storytelling and other awareness generation activities. Various themes covered by these activities were sexual harassment, unsafe spaces, issue of community toilets, and gender and gender-based violence. These events witnessed an overall participation from more than 800 community girls, and it was attended by more than 3000 people which included community residents, people from nearby schools and colleges, local leaders, police, corporates, other CBO's and social workers. One such event in Bharat Nagar and Sant Gnyanaeshwar Nagar was conducted in collaboration with ActionAid, India.
About 25 youth from one of our communities took an initiative and organized a film screening on the theme of violence against women in Malad, Mumbai. They invited Police and special cell (for women) personnel for the event. It was attended by nearly 350 community people and the local leader. After the screening it showed that many women became aware regarding domestic violence and where can they get the help from, through Q & A session. The unique part about this film screening was that it was scheduled at night and many women were present for the screening. In a community where girls and women are not allowed to go out after dark, this event was a progressive step and broke the barrier of restricting women and girls from going outside at night. Also, our youth distributed pamphlets in the community to spread awareness on the topic. They screened an episode of 'Satyamev Jayate' which was on the topic of violence. The response received to this event was rather overwhelming and very positive.
We feel happy that the youth –the girls and the boys- themselves now take initiative and organize meetings using resources like film screenings, leaflet distribution, holding public meetings and debates and photo exhibitions because that means a pro active leadership in emerging in poor communities, the so called slums.
A street Rally
Another street rally
A successful Photo exhibition