Make public spaces safer for girls and women. Delhi is #Askingforit
New Delhi, 1st July, 2015: Public transport is the lifeline of any city. Women tend to choose public transport to travel to workplace, college, school, markets and carry out a whole range of activities. According to the baseline survey conducted by Breakthrough across six states in India, more than 90% of girls and women have experienced sexual harassment once in their lifetime and almost 90% did nothing when harassed. 83% respondents felt that bus stops are the most unsafe places and 52% girls said that maximum incidences of harassment happens at the bus station.
In an effort to curb sexual harassment Breakthrough has initiated a series of community engagement activites such as street theatre (nukkad-natak) and community discussions. Students from Delhi University colleges such as Lady Irwin College, Institute of Home Economics among others participated in these initiatives. This engagement activity was held at Sarojni Nagar in front of the South Square Mall.
The Country Director and Vice President at Breakthrough Sonali Khan said, “These engagement activities are being conducted at the bus-stops and other transit points to make it safer for girls and women. The activities are directed to encourage bystanders who witness sexual harassment but do nothing to prevent it. Through this campaign #Askingforit, Breakthrough is spreading awareness about the implication of sexual harassment and the ways to prevent it as people are unaware of the laws against SH. 78% women and 65% men said that they are unaware of any helpline numbers. Therefore, information about laws and helpline numbers are being disseminated through this activity.”
Breakthrough’s Social Change Actors (SCA) through their street-theatre performance presented how sexual harassment victims go through life altering consequence and how it can be prevented. An open dialogue following the street theatre with public was held. One of the SCA Pankaj said, “People often relegate sexual harassment to eve-teasing and they do not realize that these instances have grave repercussion on the lives of women and girls. People need to be made aware that sexual harassment of any form is a criminal offence and that people need to intervene to prevent it.” Over 50 youth participants including volunteers from “Youth for Social Change” participated in the activities.
The Campaign “#Askingforit”
During the instances of sexual harassment (SH) school girls among women and girls are the most vulnerable lot as they find it difficult to
respond when it happens with them on their Standing up against Sexual Harassment (SH). Make public spaces safer for girls and women. Delhi is #Askingforit way to school while using public transport, namely buses (boarding, waiting and travelling). Breakthrough’s campaign “#Askingforit” will focus on creating an environment that prevents sexual harassment around bus stops/stands/terminals, metro stations or local train stations and encourages people who have witnessed SH not to remain silent, especially when targets are school girls. One of the main reasons for targeting the bus stops or other such transit
points is because both perpetrators, victims/survivors of SH and bystanders who witness it are found around spaces.
Breakthrough is a human rights organization working to make violence against women and girls unacceptable.
Our mission is to prevent violence against women and girls by transforming the norms and cultures that enable it. We carry out thismission by building a critical mass of change agents — the Breakthrough Generation — whose bold collective action will deliver irreversible impact on the issue of our time. We create innovative, relevant multimedia tools and programs — from short animations to long-term leadership training — that reach individuals
and institutions where they are, inspiring and equipping them to build a world in which all people live with dignity, equality, and justice.