In an attempt to raise awareness about deep-rooted social issues that lead to violence against women, scores of people from over 300 districts in 25 states will take part in a campaign that will kick start in the national Capital on Sunday.
Under the One Billion Rising (OBR) initiative — a campaign aimed at curbing violence against women — people from all walks of life and communities will gather at Connaught Place’s Central Park and express their zero tolerance for violence against women with the help of various cultural and artistic activities.
This year, the focus of OBR will be involvement of women workers, including garment and sex workers. “We will be raising our voice against exploitation of women workers and reiterate our solidarity with them,” said renowned feminist Kamal Bhasin, who is also the South Asia Coordinator of the OBR campaign.
“We face violence on a daily basis, not just from customers but also from the police, who exploit us because of the ‘illegal status’ of our work. Sex workers should be recognised as other women workers because this is what we do for a living,” said Bharati Dey, Advisor, All India Network of Sex Workers.
On February 14, the groups will visit the slums in Delhi and sensitise people on women-related issues. “Our motto is ‘Not love of power, power for love’. We would like to rope in each and every section of society. So, this year, we want to reach out to the people who generally don’t indulge in these activities,” an organiser said. They are also trying to ensure participation of as many male allies as possible.
“Patriarchy is damaging for women, but at the same time, it is also damaging for men. Therefore, men must come out and dismantle patriarchy to save themselves as well as women. It has become imperative to work with men to challenge both patriarchy and masculinity,” said Satish Kumar Singh, Additional Director, Center for Health and Social Justice.
Calling OBR an appropriate platform to raise women issues, girl students in the national Capital expressed enthusiasm for participating in the campaign. “It would be a wonderful experience for all of us to witness such a huge gathering for the cause of women,” Delhi University student Rajni Verma said.