Prime Edition

Was that a stare? Posters on FB page raise voice against harassment
NIDHI GUPTA  6th May 2012

Posters such as these by Gotstaredat are creating some much-needed noise against rape and harassment

ou raped her because her clothes provoked you? I should break your face. Your stupidity provokes me." So states a poster that has got over 1,600 'likes' and almost 1,000 people have shared it on Facebook. This and other such posters, to be found on the FB page called Gotstaredat, initiated by anti-violence activists Dhruv Arora and Kuber Sharma, are making some much-needed noise against rape, harassment and social mindsets that end up lending support to such crimes.

Arora says that he was always uncomfortable when his friends would repeatedly make sexist comments against what women wore on the streets of Delhi. He broke his silence after the huge media circus that followed the recent rape of a woman outside a bar in Gurgaon. "I realised the ridiculous hypocrisy behind the way everyone thinks, including the police and governments, who are supposed to be our protectors," rues Arora.

They are mobilising people to be part of a rally on 8 May to the Gurgaon police station near Sahara Mall, demanding that they own up to their mistakes and come out with details of other pending rape cases, among other things.

So they started a blog on Tumblr, inviting women to send photos and share their experience of what they were wearing when they were harassed. "Surprisingly, we got more entries from women abroad and expats in India than Indian women," observes Arora. He then thought of creating the Facebook page to spread the word about Gotstaredat, but with his ingenious, in-your-face posters, they've managed to get over 5,000 people following them now.

"People underestimate the power of conversation. Nobody talks about street harassment unless to say that it is part and parcel of life in a country like India. We don't even have any laws to deal with it," says Arora. Thanks to the vast democratic space that the Internet has begun to serve as, his tiny initiative has turned into a movement. "A girl dropped me a message the other day, saying that because of my posters, she mustered enough courage to turn on a stalker and give him some of his own medicine," he laughs.Image 3rd

Arora acknowledges that all those who are sharing their posters on Facebook may not be concerned too deeply with the politics of representation and the 'male' gaze that the duo are out to invert. "There is this trend – people just want to be associated anyhow with things they consider cool," he notes. But he doesn't seem to be too bothered – even shallow elements do their bit in getting the conversation flowing.

Now, having generated such great interest, Arora feels it's time to take the movement a step further – out from the virtual into the physical space. They are mobilising people to be part of a rally on 8 May to the Gurgaon police station near Sahara Mall, demanding that they own up to their mistakes and come out with details of other pending rape cases, among other things. The posters have found place in Kolkata's Slutwalk, also slated for this week, and are available to print for anybody who wants to create their own mini-revolution, announces Arora.

 
iTv Network : newsX India News Media Academy aaj Samaaj  
  Powered by : Star Infranet