Official Press Release
Widespread protests after the gang-rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey, was a moment when the country stood united in the face of violence against women, but it was not enough to change our narratives from “women’s safety” to “women’s autonomy”. The impunity of the perpetrators of sexual harassment was displayed again after several reports of molestation on New Years’ Eve in Bangalore, and was met with predictable responses that blamed women’s attire, the company they kept and ‘westernisation’.
The molestation of a girl in Ladakh by her professor, and the National Human Rights Commission report about 16 women abused by the police in Chhattisgarh, are only a few examples of the mounting violence against women and other marginalised communities. While women continue to bear the yoke of fear and communal honour even in public spaces, the culprits not only continue to evade accountability, but are rapidly joined by several others in spirited chants of #NotAllMen.
This patriarchal and misogynistic culture of questioning women’s right to be in the public sphere needs to end. To combat this, #IWillGoOut Collective is organising marches and several demonstrations on 21st January 2017 in over 20 cities and towns of India (viz. Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Pondicherry, Ahmedabad, Silchar, Karimganj, Jaipur, Bhopal, Nagpur, Thrissur, Kangra, Trivandrum, Gurgaon, Ranchi, Goa, Chandigarh.) We are also being joined by individuals in Kashmir for an online campaign
#IWillGoOut is a collective of individuals and organisations across various cities in India that strongly denounces Violence Against Women and advocates for women’s right to be seen, heard and be in public spaces at any given time without question or fear. We are a movement of the people, for the people, by the people. The emphasis of our collective is to bring in as many diverse voices from across the country as possible. We are therefore in the process of reaching out to various organisations to join us in re-defining what “safe access” means to different people in different contexts. Our attempt is to unite across class, caste, religion, sexuality and all other categories that are used for dividing us, by tapping into the solidarity that exists across multiple struggles, in order to bring the change this country needs.
Our vision for this movement is for everyone to:
a) Question the traditional notions of “public space” that have come to mean belonging to/being for men, and debunking the myth that it is an issue for the urban elite. We seek to highlight the need and nature of “safe access to public spaces” in diverse contexts.
b) Protest the exclusion of the whole range of marginalised communities in a space that is increasingly defining itself as gendered and heteronormative.
c) Have the freedom to exist and live out our lives in our country without constant fear.
d) Reclaim highly gendered public spaces for women and girls of every class and caste.
e) Do a safety audit in the region including the response of law enforcement to crimes against women
f) Create a world for future generations free of violence and fear.
g) Ensure that gender sensitization by professionals working in the field takes place in educational institutions, organizations and courts of law.
h) Ensure inclusive and safe infrastructure that will make women’s access to public spaces easier (for example, 24 hour public transport, well-lit streets, public toilets and so on).
i) Demand that immediate action is taken against those who perpetrate sexual violence of any kind without victim blaming/shaming by those in power.
We are coming together in various cities on 21st Jan, 2017 in solidarity with all the nameless and faceless women who have suffered sexual abuse, and we also pay tribute to the names we know so well – Jyoti, Manorama, Aruna, Soni Sori, Phoolan Devi, Qandeel, Jessica, Jisha… And so very many more.
We’re calling out to everyone who has been affected by misogynistic mindsets born of a patriarchal society, and asking them to join the movement, to take a stand and to no longer accept violence and harassment as the norm. We’re encouraging survivors to speak up and have their voices heard, to reclaim their bodies, their streets and their country. On 21st Jan, peaceful gatherings, across 22 cities and towns and counting, will be organised at 5 PM IST. We will come together as one.
For more information on events being planned in your city or town, do like our Facebook page and stay tuned for updates.
To help organise events in your city/town/neighbourhood reach out to us at email@example.com.
See all signatories of #IWillGoOut here.