Delhi, which rose in outrage against the horrific gangrape of a trainee physiotherapist, will celebrate Valentine’s Day by walking the streets to protest sexual violence against women as part of the global One Billion Rising movement.
Music director and social activist Kishor Giri sits on a road median, and protests against Delhi gangrape, in Guwahati. AP photo
A reminder of how vulnerable women/girls are came when musician Anoushka Shankar, daughter of legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar, admitted she was sexually abused as a child.
“As a child I suffered sexual and emotional abuse for several years at the hands of a man my parents trusted implicitly,” the 31-year-old said in a video in support of the One Billion Rising movement. “Growing up, like most women I know, I suffered various forms of groping, touching, verbal abuse and other things I didn’t know how to deal with.”
More than 500 Delhiites will get on the streets and sing for end to violence against women and distribute pink ribbons to public transport authorities. The young woman was raped in a moving bus.
“It’s an initiative to show the power and responsibility each one of us in stopping crime against women,” said Kamala Bhasin, the movement’s South Asia coordinator. American playwright Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues) started the One Billion Rising movement to demand end to violence against women.
One billion rising
The campaign will simultaneously be held in 200 other countries.
In the national capital, its highlight will be a cultural event at Parliament Street between 5 and 8 pm, which will feature a play followed by song and dance performances by students of Lady Shri Ram College, Miranda House and Kamala Nehru College.
A group of wheelchair-bound youths will also undertake dance acts at a number of Metro stations during the day to raise awareness on the safety of women.
"We thank Delhi Metro for joining OBR campaign to make Delhi a safe, gender-friendly and inclusive city," Anjlee Agarwal, executive director of Samarthayam, an organisation working for the rights of the differently-abled, said.
South Asia Coordinator of the OBR campaign Kamla Bhasin said, "We are launching Indian women's and girl's freedom struggle tomorrow and we are going to question every patriarchal establishment including ourselves. We seek freedom from patriarchy and freedom from violent masculinity.
"So, for us, 'OBR' is for justice, equality, peace and harmony. We need to work on all aspects of life -— laws, governance, family, culture, religion, media -- and today we commit to carry forward this freedom movement," she said.
The campaign has received support from the Dalai Lama and Sangay Choden Wangchuk, the Queen Mother of Bhutan.
with PTI inputs