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Women pin the creeps. Map areas, post pictures of clothes worn when harassed

Lamat R Hasan | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 2:58 IST

Women are sexually harassed at bus stops, metro stations, car parks, college campuses, workplaces and on streets - making India the fourth-most dangerous country for women who use public transport and the second-worst for those who stay out late at night.

The country is unsafe for women with an average of three rapes being reported every hour. And Delhi just cemented its reputation of being India's "rape capital" in 2015 by registering six rapes and 14 molestations every day.

A few virtual organisations are quietly trying to change things. Encouraging women to share their stories. Building evidence by posting pictures of what they wore when they were harassed. Helping victims fight feelings of shame and guilt.

We take a look at a few.

01
Freeze the Tease

Was founded in 2011 in Mumbai to fight "eve-teasing", a ridiculous term used to describe sexual harassment in India.

The brainchild of Perma Dsouza, Andrea Fernades, Digi George, Anishka Alvares, Rochelle Barrie and Valeska Reveredo, all students in 2011, the initiative began as a response to a class assignment.

Women are encouraged to sign a pledge saying that they will not be silent in the face of street harassment and wear bands that say "I pledge to freeze the tease".

"Eve-teasing sounds playful for few, but today it has become a daily torment for most women. Eve-teasing is no more teasing but harassment.why be harassed by these lechers...it is time to react and FREEZE THE TEASE!" - is how the organisers invite victims to report harassment.

02
Blank Noise
sexual harassment pin the creep 2

www.safecity.in

Started over a decade ago in Bangalore by Jasmeen Patheja, Blank Noise now has chapters across a few cities. It aims to tackle gender-based violence and build safe spaces for women.

Over the past decade, Blank Noise has addressed street harassment through campaigns and street actions. One of its popular campaigns is called "Did you ask for it?" wherein victims are asked to post pictures of clothes they were wearing when they were sexually harassed.

"This collective building of an installation of clothes seeks, primarily, to erase the assumption that you 'asked for it' because of what you were wearing. The popular assumption is that the girl is to blame because she was 'provocatively dressed', implying that 'immodest' women are eve-teased," reads a note on the website.

Blank Noise hopes to collect 1,000 clothes and assemble them in a gigantic installation on the streets of major cities of India soon.

03
Geographies of Violence

Geographies of Violence is a crowd-mapping experiment focussing on Delhi that will chart the history of violence and specifically, sexual violence.

This is one of several responses to increasingly brutal instances of sexual assaults on women.

"While outrage, physical protests, advocacy and education are necessary, awareness is also crucial for those who tread unsafe territories," reads a note on its website..

"This is an attempt to leverage a moment of crisis to produce change that can make women safer. This is a crowdmap where victims can report any instance of sexual violence that they have faced."

04
Pin the Creeps
sexual harassment pin the creep 1

www.blog.blanknoise.org

Safe City wants victims or witnesses of gender-based crimes to tell their stories and help spread the word for change.

It is a volunteer-based initiative that asks victims to "pin the creeps". It encourages them to hold campaigns and workshops. Victims can share their stories and map the place where they were harassed.

Elsa Marie D'silva, an aviation professional, made a career switch to improve the lives of women, youth and senior citizens through awareness, interaction and education.

On her team are Salini Sharma, who conducts gender sensitivity and inclusiveness workshops in Delhi, and Ashwini Syed, who has trained pilots and cabin crew on safety and emergency procedures.

"Safe City wants to take the movement of safe-cities a long way. A city where women can live without fear, violence and abuse," reads a note on its website.

05
Chappal Maarungi

This is another Mumbai-based group trying to stop "eve-teasing". The "chappal" here is symbolic - asking women to raise their voice and not necessarily their footwear.

The campaign is not so much directed towards men, but towards women asking them to raise their voice against inappropriate behaviour.

"Chappal Maarungi is about empowering women, making them aware and letting them know that if they stand up for their rights, no one will be able to take them for granted. For when the women speak up, the men will learn their lesson," reads a post on its Facebook page.

06
Safety products
Think pepper sprays. Keyring alarms. Lipstick sprays.

Sayfty.com's mission is to help women protect themselves against violence by equipping them with personal safety products.

They equip women with safe and affordable self-defence tools like pepper sprays and safety alarms and train them to use these products.

They also encourage women to take responsibility of their own safety and not rely on others.

First published: 28 December 2015, 11:16 IST
 
Lamat R Hasan @LamatAyub

Bats for the four-legged, can't stand most on two. Forced to venture into the world of homo sapiens to manage uninterrupted companionship of 16 cats, 2 dogs and counting... Can read books and paint pots and pay bills by being journalist.

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