Connect with the OBR Campaign is growing phenomenally among girls and boys, women and men, across states and cities and bringing into its fold both young people and diverse stakeholders and institutions which range from business to faith based organizations stated social activist, Kamla Bhasin
Delhi, 13 February, 2015: 14 February, popularly associated with Valentine’s Day, is now marked worldwide as the day to voice concern and protest against the growing violence against women and express solidarity for the global campaign to stop violence against women under the aegis of the One Billion Rising (OBR) Campaign.
Recalling the groundswell the campaign has aroused since 2012 and the fact that it is growing from strength to strength, Kamla Bhasin, South Asia Coordinator, OBR spoke about how the campaign has brought into its fold women and men across 19 states of India and all eight South Asian countries. And went on to add that “it is now resounding loudly in places as far flung as Siliguri where students from Loreto College, Darjeeling and from Kolkata partnered with local radio stations and leading banks such as State Bank of India, to popularize the campaign message of zero tolerance to violence against women.”
Shabhnam Hashmi, a leading social activist and founder member of Anhad, who has been actively involved in the wider mobilization drive for the campaign emphasized that “OBR has galvanized millions of women across the world to stand together to stop violence against women.” Taking this forward she said that the “connect with the OBR campaign is instant, truly organic and purposeful.” She went on to add that the OBR public meeting proposed to be held in Rohtak on 19 February will best demonstrate this as it “will not only bring thousands of women together but will register a strong protest against heinous crime committed recently against a disabled woman.”
Explaining the impact the OBR campaign has had on young people, Bijayalaxmi Nanda, Professor, Miranda House admitted that “sustained initiatives among students of Delhi University led by Miranda House Women’s Development Cell and the young people from the different clusters of bastis led by CFAR resulted in a deep sense of ownership on the issue.” She went on to emphasize that “young people are now at the forefront of the movement and all the ideas and strategies have been shaped by them; they have declared unanimously and in one unified voice their resolve to ensure zero tolerance to violence against women and girls.” The fervor and hope that the campaign has evoked in young people, she stated, was best represented by the fact that “today we are seeing girls and boys fighting jointly against patriarchal values and aspiring to create a milieu that respects equality and diversity.”
None of this enthusiasm would have been possible without the concerted effort made by Azad Foundation and Asmita Theatre Group to raise consciousness especially among young men by using street theatre. Having performed a street play called ‘Mard” that challenges all notions of masculinity across many bastis, reaching out to 20000 people of which, 7000 were men, Arvind Gaur from Asmita Group stated that we focused on “changing the mindset of men as it is an important step to stop violence against women.”
Reinforcing this Ankit from Azad Foundation stated that have worked with women of various bastis of Delhi, there was a dire need to engage men and “realized that in order to change the unequal and violent relationships in families, it is high time that men seize the responsibility in ending the vicious and ever recurring cycle of violence.”
In Delhi, OBR Campaign was resonating amongst diverse populations from residents of habitats as far apart as Dwarka in West Delhi and Badarpur in South Delhi to Seemapuri in East Delhi and involving constituencies such as people living with disability, survivors of violence, students, children, auto drivers and homemakers, who had been mobilized by a plethora of organizations. They include: Samarthyam, SMRC and Women with Disabilities India Network Manas, Srijnatmak Manushi Sanstha, ActionAid, and their partner organizations CADAM, Action India, Azad Foundation, Nine is Mine Campaign for Children, Miranda House, Centre for Advocacy and Research, Azad Foundation, Asmita Theatre Group and Jagori to name a few.