On January 21, don’t be surprised if you see women marching across the streets, as part of a nationwide protest from 5pm to 9pm. The multi-city campaign was planned after the mass molestation incident in Bengaluru on New Year’s Eve.
The incident impacted many, including a 26-year-old research consultant Divya Titus. She sent out a message to 10 of her Facebook friends, asking for support to start an online petition. “I live just 200 meters away from the place. It upset me so much that I sent out a group message and within 3 hours 100 people showed support,” says Titus.
The appeal to start a petition spiraled into a campaign and has now taken shape of a movement #IWillGoOut, which will see women and even some men come together for a march on January 21. “It’s probably for the first time that a multi-city march (in at least 14 cities) is organised in India at the same time. And not just metros but even smaller cities such as Pondicherry, Silchar and Ahmedabad are organising the march,” says Japleen Pasricha,
27-year-old feminist-activist from the Delhi Chapter of the campaign.
A 24-year-old social entrepreneur Bhani Rachel Bali from Delhi says, “What happened in Bangalore, I wouldn’t call it mass-molestation it was mass harassment. We are against victim shaming and politicians blaming women for such incidents. After December 16, Bangalore still happened and it’s time that we stand in solidarity. Everyone who will be coming for the march will carry their own posters which will also address the issue of bystander intervention.”
Though the venue in Delhi is yet to be finalised, in most of the other cities the place and police permissions are already in progress. Bali adds, “We were earlier planning to organise the march on January 7, which got postponed to January 21 since we awaited permissions from different authorities. I think it is only good because now we are much more in number even before we have started promoting the event.”