Photo credit: Priyanka Runwal
Some 150 Students, staff, and some faculty member of NCBS Bangalore recently held a silent rally against sexual harassment in the neighbourhood of NCBS Bangalore. The aim of the rally were:
- Safe public spaces. Freedom for everyone to walk around at any time in day and night.
- Encourage people to report incidents when they are happening and to take a security escort to do so.
- Awareness that such incidents are happening around us and will not be tolerated.
- Involve local community. Get more and more people involved so that they support victims when witnessing such incidents.
- Encourage people to use public spaces so that anti-social elements do not monopolize them.
- Popularise measures that are already in place at NCBS.
- Inform civil authorities. Maintenance of public spaces such as improving street lighting and increased police patrol in sensitive areas.
- Continue to work on a safer neighbourhood:
- Organize martial arts courses at NCBS that are open to public.
- Remove garbage in the streets to make this place look well maintained.
We covered some neighbourhood of NCBS Bangalore where most of the incidents were reported. We also took signatures to be handed over to local police to increase patrolling. But most importantly, we also get the local community to get involved. As it is well know, the harasser is usually a person who does not have deep roots in the community, not easy to track or identify, often does not commit his acts in own neighbourhood.
If this helps more people to speak up and report, intervene and stop harassment when they are happening in our neighbourhood, I’ll call it a success. In any case, one aim was to instil confidence and reduce the fear among the people that we stand with them and ready to help them should the need arise. They are not alone. Our sympathies are with them. This won’t be much, but it will be something.
NOTE on media coverage:
Various newspaper covered the rally. There were various distortions in coverage. Rally did not march to police station. We only did it in the neighbourhood of the campus. Also there is no case of sexual harassment on the campus. People who are involved in these incidents were not drunk either etc. etc.. The Hindu did least distorted reporting on the issue; and managed to get the basic point of being a “awareness rally” to the foreground.