Strike, Dance, Rise

Guwahati will be part of the epic event to raise awareness about violence against women writes Sabrina Iqbal Sircar

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‘Woman raped’, ‘Girl sexually assaulted’, ‘Minor Molested’, these have become not only commonplace headlines but also expected and socially acknowledged instances in our society. It is quite sad and ironic at the same time that women world over; irrespective of the kind of society and traditions they belong to, have throughout history been the unfortunate victims of an almost universal kind of cultural misogyny.

The statistics are shocking when it comes to violence against women. It is estimated that — one among three women is raped or beaten in her life time, about 44% of rape victims are below 18 years of age and about 80% are below 30 years of age; about two-third of assaults on women are committed by persons known to them and 38% of rapists are friends or acquaintances and an astounding 97 percent of the rapists will never spend a day in jail. Such numbers are not only disillusioning but they also serve the purpose of awakening the society to a colossal danger that is looming overhead in almost all corners of the world. Women are being violated, they are being treated worse than animals, they are being objectified to fulfil desires of lust and are killed without the blinking of an eye. It is in the light of such grim circumstances that the global movement of One Billion Rising has been initiated.

One Billion Rising is a global campaign by women, for women. The movement calls for an end to violence, and calls for justice and gender equality. On February 14th, 2013, a one-day event will be held, a call for one billion women around the world to walk away from their homes, businesses, and jobs, and join together to dance in a show of collective strength. The event will be held on the 15th anniversary of the V-Day movement. The word “billion” refers to the one billion women who are survivors of abuse.

As of September 20, 2012, people from 160 countries have signed up to take part in the campaign. The campaign was initiated by playwright and activist Eve Ensler (known for her play The Vagina Monologues), and her organization V-Day. About five thousand organisations are expected to take part in the event. This initiative was appreciated and welcomed in many parts of the globe and countries and regions began to be a part of it. For instance there is now, the OBR campaign South Asia, Australia, etc and many Universities and institutions have also become a part of this global crusade.

So we here in our little city of Guwahati, have also come ahead to extend our support to this global movement and to show the world that we too care. This event is scheduled to be in Guwahati, on the 14th of February, at 3.00 pm at Shraddhanjali Kannan, R.G. Baruah Road. The event will have many activities like jamming sessions, dance, flash mobs, art exhibition, photography exhibition, dramas etc.

This needs to be mentioned that, concerned with the increasing incidents of violence against women in many parts of Northeast India, the organizations which are part of this OBR event will carry its activities forward in the form of a sustained campaign. “The group recognizes that there needs to be conversations, messages, reforms etc for sensitization of every member of the society on the issue of patriarchy and misogyny. The members of the group will take up activities like research, documentation, legal and social support, media campaign and awareness events throughout the coming year and further ahead,” says Banamallika Choudhury, one of the organisers of the event in Guwahati.

These activities will basically be a way of protesting, or rather an unconventional way of protesting against the issue. The need for this was felt, as there has been a swell in the crime rates against the women in all corners of the world which includes India. Hence this initiative will mark the beginning of a global protest that we are not taking this shit no more. Treat women with respect, treat them as your equals. So, with this message, Guwahati is also coming forward to make history and be part of this epic event. Yes, we are a rather small city but it is small drops of water that make the ocean. So let us do our bit… Come Let us all rise!

Sabrina Iqbal Sircar

Sabrina Iqbal Sircar

Sabrina Iqbal Sircar is a writer and a faculty in the department of Political Science at Cotton College State University, Guwahati.