It is very astonishing and confusing to completely understand the intention behind rape and the factors that lead to a culture of disgust i.e. sexual violence. Each time our country is defamed or shamed for yet another case of rape, another gruelling incident comes to light. It has become so common in our country that only the most gruesome and shocking ones catch our attention anymore.
Does our country have a sexual violence problem? From condemning the victim to criticizing her clothing in India the reasons that prevent the improvement of this rape scene are horrific to say the least. However there is still hope. Since the past few years several initiatives, individuals, organisations have been working tirelessly to battle this issue.
Here are a few of them:
PARIVARTAN – An Initiative by Delhi Police
Sagar Preet Hooda was the officer who created Parivartan ( Hindi for ‘change’) an internationally acclaimed initiative that created a functional solution for reducing Violence Against Women ( VAW) in Delhi, India.
In 2005, the Delhi Police as a response to the two most ghastly rapes on the streets of Delhi launched Parivartan to prevent violence against women. This was a community policing program – A campaign for the safety of women and girls in Delhi. The program that was launched on August 29 2005 had a new model. It was launched in 20 neighbourhoods and slowly extended to 100. The new targets, methods, tools and sites of intervention worked under the philosophy that violence against women is a product of culturally learnt behaviour and it can be prevented by the right kind of socialization, schooling and sensitization of community. Various hotspots and vulnerable neighbourhoods were recognized and each neighbourhood had a program that was designed in a scientific and straightforward manner.
Parivartan had a divided approach and operated at 2 levels. On one hand it involved the police force and deployed a large team of Women Police Constables (WPCs) in the scathing neighbourhoods for field duties. On the other hand it reached out to communities, trying to challenge the social reasons for such violence.
Parivartan received world wide acclaim including the ‘Webber Seavey Award’, ‘ISO 9001:2000 Certificate’ and documentation by UN WOMEN, New York.
In 2011 Usha Vishwakarma started Red Brigade in Lucknow after a co-worker tried to sexually assault her at the age of 18. She along with a group of 15 girls learnt self- defense techniques and trained other girls with these techniques under the name Mission One Million. They started an awareness campaign on women’s issues through street plays and workshops dressed in red to depict danger and black for protest.
The Red Brigade has grown and become a large coalition of empowered females who ensure that women and girls do not need to think twice before stepping out of their homes.
Raftaar – The all female motorbike squad
The Delhi police created an all – female motorcycle squad to tackle gender based violence in Delhi. The patrol team is called Raftaar (meaning speed). The squad’s aim is to help women feel more comfortable to report incidents and also help address the need for more officers for enforcing laws.
Raftaar’s team comprising of 600 officers will be equipped. With guns, pepper spray, body cameras and patrols areas comprising young women like universities and other areas where sexual harassment in common.
MAVA – Men against violence and abuse
In order to tackle rape the first and foremost step is tchange the mindset of the people who commit the crime. Men should primarily respect women. This should be the first step towards battling sexual harassment.
MAVA (Men Against Violence and Abuse) engages boys and men to address issues of discrimination and gender inequality by questioning the existing prototype of masculinity. Mava has been engaging young men in schools, colleges and communities in healthy conversations around sexual health and gender sensitive behavious through eadership – driven training and using out-of-the-box methods including interactive workshops, street theatre and film festivals.
Do you know of any such initiatives? Please let us know in the comments below
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