Mumbai: Popularising the mantra of ‘Intervene and Interrupt’, Akshara an NGO for Central Railway commuters launched “Mai Hoo Na” campaign against sexual harassment at public places at CSMT on Thursday with a street play.
Pamphlets instructing commuters how and when to intervene also gave guidelines on using mobile phones as a smart tool to click pictures / videos of the perpetrator / situation or car number and share it on social media.
More station to be covered by NGO
Akshara plans to take this movement beyond railway stations to streets and buses, colleges and schools. Snehal Velkar of 'Akshara' said, “We are doing such awareness campaigns in communities, colleges and various other public places. After CSMT our next stop is LTT station and Dadar station.”
The RPF, collaborating with Akshara, plans to sensitise their personnel to combat harassment in public places.
For this, she said, awareness and recognising what constitutes as sexual harassment in public places is as important as people coming forward to register complaints and help.
When asked whether absence of strict (legal) punishment encourages miscreants, Velkar said, “No we don’t think so, the law is already in place, we have to strictly implement it.”
On steps which could act as a deterrent, Velkar said, “Stricter patrolling and the supportive role of bystanders will also act as a deterrent factor.”
Divisional Railway Manager of Central Railways Mumbai Division Rajnish Kumar Goyal said, “It is a good initiative, we hope it will prove helpful.”
Cases registered in Mumbai division of Central Railways in 2022
Total cases 52
Incidents in local trains 20 cases
Incidents in long distance trains 4
Incidents in railway premises including platforms and foot over bridges 28
Rutuja Babar, College Student - RADAV college said, “More such campaigns like this should be organised in different parts of the country because it is important to raise the issue of the negative impact sexual harassment has on women. I, too, have faced sexual harassment at public place, which has become a daily norm. Nobody talks about harassment as an issue. We don’t share our ordeals as it will restrict our freedom and mobility with parents not permitting us to travel late or alone.”
FREEDOM FROM FEAR
1 speak up – Call out the harasser whether it is directed towards you or someone else
Interrupt – engage the victim in some way so as to distract the harasser
Be a ‘smart’ phone user – take a picture / video of the perpetrator / situation / vehicle and share on app
Don’t be a bystander – join the one who confronts the harasser and draw public attention
Call 103 or 9833331111 – call the Mumbai police helpline open 24/7, toll-free and accessible from landline or mobile phones
Report on Harassmap
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