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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

In a corner of Delhi, women are breaking their silence

Neelam Pandey and Faizan Haider, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 09, 2013
First Published: 00:51 IST(9/1/2013) | Last Updated: 03:02 IST(9/1/2013)

"Mujhe school jaate samay ladke pareshan karte hai. Kai seeti bajate hai. (Boys tease me on way to school; some whistle at me)."

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"Market me mujhe aur mere doston ko ladke jaanboojh ke kohni maar kar jaate he aur phir haste hai (In the market, boys often brush past me and my friends and then laugh at us)."

"Jab bhi hum kaam ke liye jaate he raaste me kaafi saare aadmi ashleel gaane gaate hai aur mazak udaate hai (While we go for work, we encounter a number of men who sing cheap songs and laugh at us when we react)." 

The walls of E block in Bawana wear a sign of rebellion.

And this rebellion is the result of suppressed anger, the manifestation of which has found a firm footing after the barbaric gang rape of a 23-year-old girl on December 16 in the city.

Women and girls from north Delhi's Bawana have started sharing their stories on the 'walls' for everyone to read. The stories are of constant harassment these women face while they carry out day-to-day activities.

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Right from school girls, college students and housewives, every one of them who have faced harassment in their colonies and markets have decided to speak up.

"Boys are always found loitering outside our school and many of them pass lewd comments. There have been cases where boys have threatened to throw acid on our faces if we complain about it to anyone," said Vasundhara Kumar (name changed), a resident of Bawana.

"We have narrated our experience on the walls without revealing our names after sharing our experience in one of our meetings," she added.

Uma Devi, a collective coordinator, who is part of Delhi government's Awaz Uthao project, said, "We hold regular meetings with women and found that most of them face harassment of some kind while they go to school, work or even to the market. We decided to write down those experiences and paste them on walls, so that men who are generally found sitting or chatting there will think twice before harassing any woman."

According to the officials, a safety audit was conducted in Bawana and across the city to map out areas where women feel unsafe and face harassment.

This 'wall magazine' was put up in Bawana last month and following the gang rape incident, the Delhi government's social welfare department had asked all women collectives to put up such walls in every area.

On Monday when HT visited Bawana, it found scores of people reading the wall magazine. Some residents were even discussing the recent gang rape of the 23-year-old woman who died on December 29.


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