Mumbai: In an attempt to make commuting for female passengers safer, Akshara – an NGO working for the empowerment of women and girls – is launching a “Main Hoon Na – standing against Ched chad” campaign from today in collaboration with the Railway Protection Force of Central Railway. Akshara is a non-governmental-organisation actively championing women’s cause in the country since the last two decades.
The campaign will act as a new year pledge focusing on not ignoring sexual harassment, calling attention to recognize, interrupt, intervene and report it. The aim of this campaign is to encourage bystanders to play a vital role to stand against sexual harassment in public places.
Student leaders from over 25 college across Mumbai, Nasik and Pune will be joining the campaign to create public awareness and start a movement to stop sexual harassment in public places.
According to Akshara, most women have faced staring, catcalling, touching, pinching and stalking which hits their self-confidence and dampens their spirit.
“We as a society do not take enough actions against it and then make a noise when a woman gets raped or killed in domestic violence. We, at Akshara Centre, believe that street sexual harassment is the initial experience of power that men get familiar with and we need to counter it,” Akshara said in a statement shared with FPJ on Wednesday.
“Keep in mind above things, Akshara centre in collaboration with Railway Protection Force of Central Railway and ‘One Billion Rising – Rise for Freedom’ have started a campaign to engage commuters to play an interventionist role. “Main Hoon na” should be the spirit in which each commuter needs to stand up and use multiple strategies to recognise, name the act, interrupt, intervene and report sexual harassment. We have taken a pledge for the new year – Let us act against street sexual harassment and make our cities safe, accessible for all,” the statement said.
Akshara wants to build a momentum to create a wall of supporters against street harassment which has directly affected 1 in 3 women. The group wants to build a society where women can experience public spaces with confidence and enjoy the city in the same way as men, the statement added.
“While we work towards empowerment of women, it is critical that men understand their few minutes of fun affects women permanently. We have to work together towards stopping street sexual harassment and become “Main Hoon Na” for each survivor. We hope this campaign will bring about positive change and counter street harassment and to reclaim public spaces,” Snehal Velkar of Akshara Centre said.
(a couple of reactions from the normal public, a couple of men and a few women)
Many women face this type of harassment during their daily commute, but most do not come forward because of family pressure and the lengthy procedure of case registration.
Lata Argade, leader of a suburban passengers association
Miscreants take advantage of rush hours to misbehave while walking on the FOBs.
A regular commuter
Women do face such problems, but they need to report it immediately. They should not generalise and accuse all men.
Kalyan resident Dinesh Chandra, who works with a cloth merchant at Kalaba Devi
If anyone feels harassed, she or he should report it on priority basis. This is a must to prevent these types of incidents.
Kishore Jadhav, Thane
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