According to a recent survey, seven out of ten women are sexually harassed. Of these 90% don’t register a police complaint because they think it’s of no use revealing abysmal faith in law enforcement agencies.
Almost 70% of the women said they had been subjected to lewd comments or songs from groups of men. About a quarter of them had been groped or molested by men. Stalking was reported by just 8%. Alarmingly, in over 90% of the incidents people around did not respond to help the women.
One in three women worldwide face abuse, violence and rape everyday. In no country of the world are women free from this fear and terror.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a global campaign that was started in 1991. Since then, over 5,179 groups in 187 countries have taken part. It begins annually on 25th November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. The campaign hopes to raise awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international level. Events like art competitions, exhibitions, memorials, film showings, postcard and poster campaigns, information stands, media campaigns, blogathons, community mobilization are organised during the 16 days campaign.
This year’s theme is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Gender-Based Violence!”
To commemorate and take part in the global 16 Days of Activism campaign, FII hosted a campaign inviting women to share their stories and experiences of sexual harassment. The aim of the campaign was to bring out stories of survivors and shift the onus from the victim to the perpetrator.
This was our first crowd-sourced digital campaign collecting first-person survivor narratives of sexual violence. We initially planned to publish 16 stories, one each day for the global 16 Days of Activism campaign, but we received an overwhelming response.
At first, women were not comfortable sharing their stories, but once they read other survivors’ stories; it gave them strength. Out of the eighteen stories we published, only three women requested to publish it anonymously, the rest published under their names. Because, it is #NeverOurFault.
The campaign received much media coverage and the Laadli Media Award 2014-15 by Population First. Below are the testimonies from two of the campaign contributors and FII writers.
When I stumbled upon the campaign in 2014, I wanted to participate. But, the “guilt” one feels when ‘it’ happens and the ‘self-blaming’, I realised, was still holding me back. After reading Japleen’s post on ‘Delhi’s metro and sexual harassment’, I was inspired to follow suit, but my courage needed a push, because no matter how much time passes, the memory of the harassment still haunts us. Japleen’s encouraging words helped me in this regard. I cried, I relived it and I emerged stronger. Participating in the campaign and interacting with people on FII taught me about the importance of acknowledging the evil of sexual harassment and gave me strength to be vocal about it; in thought and in action.
FII won the Laadli Media & Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity under Best Web Campaign English award for the 16 Days Of Activism Against Sexual Harassment campaign that FII conducted to commemorate the global 16 Days of Activism.
The series of articles in the campaign gathered stories of survivors of sexual harassment and violence who recounted their personal experiences in their own voices. Read together, they make one squirm with the similarity of these experiences; of the violation of innocence in one’s growing years or the first shock of being groped in a bus, train or metro or harassed at home, in the office or on the street.
In appreciation of its efforts to bring real experiences and voices of women facing sexual harassment and violence to our readers, to break the silence around gender-based violence, FII is awarded the Laadli Media & Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity 2014-15.