Apologies for being late with Part 2 – was busy with work! Please see Part 1 here https://ashwinkumar1989.online/2017/11/02/feminist-rani-a-game-changing-event-for-women-and-men-part-1/ . After the issues pertaining to sexual harassment and sexism were discussed, it was time for the steps to be taken:
- Harnidh – Take action against harassment as well as sexism. Report it. If at office people are not listening, reach out to lawyers. There is a very good NGO called “She Says” which aims to end gender based discrimination and advance women’s rights in India by engaging with the youth and activating them as agents of social change to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. http://www.shesays.in/
- According to Mallika, comedy softens the blow delivered by sexism, as it re-packages truth and gives it to you. Comedy group AIB (All India Bakchod) call out sexism a lot. Comedian Kunal Kamra is known for ‘calling a spade a spade’ when it comes to sexism. What is highly shocking and makes my blood boil is that he has received a lot of death threats – in fact, these arseholes even sent a photo of his home address and a picture of him eating at a restaurant ; with a threatening message “We know where you are eating” ! May such scum rot in jail for the rest of their lives!
- Supreet introduced her app ‘Safe City’ https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.phonethics.safecity&hl=en , which is present in 8 countries! This is an extremely valuable app where people report sexual harassment anonymously. It gets pinned on the map, and data is made available in Hot Spots; which is sent to Trip Advisor. This applies to all public spaces and communities. The data is also used by the police. There is no need for a name; so your identity can be kept secret! In fact, the police have changed the timings of their beat patrol with respect to women safety; thanks to this app! Police stations and hospitals show on the map in Mumbai and Delhi. Safe City, apart from using technology for women safety; also work on child sexual abuse with children and parents.
- The Supreme Court had made an amendment to one of its acts to have POSH – Prevention of Sexual Harassment for Women, which applies to the corporate world. Sexism and a hostile work environment are also part of it.
- Harnidh’s ‘Seed Space’ – for speaking out on behalf of women scared and facing sexual harassment. It gives space for women to have a dialogue, and fosters space for them to talk continuously. According to her, it is important to hear women out. Always open their DMs (Direct Messages) and read them. For women today, the fact that someone believes them is more than enough, as speaking out about their issues is an emotionally draining experience. In fact, it is like war out there!
- Sexual harassment can be anything from ogling to commenting and rape. It is in short indecent exposure. There are useful terms like ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’. There are certain places in the body where no one should touch a woman except her mother. I am shocked at my own ignorance – may be it’s time for me to have some gender and sex education! :O
- According to Harnidh, a lot of young girls think they are responsible for bad touch happening, simply by virtue of being! :O Also, many women associate harassment with guilt – the classic Sanskari shit of “wearing a short skirt” etc. The solution is to reach out to a lot of millennial women who have clout on social media
- Harnidh – Anonymous stories are still legitimate. No need for women to give names in order to share their stories. They can protect their identity while spreading awareness about their issues. All women want is their stories to be heard, not reactions.
- Indian systems are still colonial. We have to be patient, in spite of let-offs like the juvenile in the dastardly rape of Jyoti Singh. Even women with privilege don’t have a voice. According to Harnidh, we will have to wait for a generation for things to change. Vigilante justice is murder and not justice Due process should remain, but should be made more holistic
- Parents must bring up children to treat all genders equally. Never teach or inculcate stereotypes, like “Men are supposed to be like this”, “Women are supposed to be like this” etc. Remove gender roles. Teach men to be in touch with what they like. Harnidh’s father must be seen as an ideal example for bringing up a daughter, for he told her to be “as loud, angry, obnoxious and unlady like as she wanted” !
Thus ended the first feminist event that I ever attended, and a very valuable and insightful discussion. It made me uncomfortable at certain points, but that is because of the way I’ve been brought up – I have been raised in a classic patriarchal family and society as the elder child and only male child; and I have accepted certain unfair advantages without questioning them. It is time for me to unlearn and begin afresh. Meanwhile, PLEASE READ AND SHARE ALL WOMEN AND MEN ESPECIALLY MY FELLOW FEMINISTS!