Recently, two women from Mumbai, Uppekha Jain and Pankhuri Awasthi, posted a video on YouTube. Titled Bombbaebs #Rap Against Rape, the video starts with a disclaimer stating that it doesn't have any explicit content. 'It's just that the reality for women in India is Explicit.'
Judging by people's reaction, the video was not well-received but it made an impact. And that is what's required now. Even a small change can go a long way.
After the 2012 gang-rape of a Delhi student on a moving bus, the Indian government introduced tougher penalties for sexual crimes against women, but even after two years we can still hear cases of violence against women.
The fact remains that India's rape epidemic continues to occupy media airtime and is a permanent fixture with the western newshounds. Leslee Udwin's documentary India's Daughter has firmly reinforced the impression. The film sparked public outrage leading to a ban but importantly it exposed India's misogynistic culture.
However, not everything's lost. For hundreds of men such as the lawyer featured in the docu, there are many who reject this mindset--a small but sure start towards something positive.
We take a look at such similar social videos against sexual violence that went viral:
1) Would You Marry A Rape Survivor?
WTF India conducted a social experiment on the streets of Mumbai, asking participants whether they would marry, or allow their sons, to marry a rape survivor. Some reacted with an outright no. One of the participants said, "Because I want a clear girl, my son is clear." Others admitted that rape survivors had no fault in the crime, and would gladly marry one. "I'd marry a rape survivor. People need to change their mentality. If they want to stop rape, they need to start treating those girls equally," countered another.
2) The Social Experiment by The Logical Indian (Rape)
This experiment caught the reactions of people on the sly on how they would react if they come across a situation where a girl was being raped. The video starts with screams of despair (of a girl) coming out of a secluded car with tinted glasses while the voice of the alleged rapist is trying to drown out her cries. While a few charge at the car trying to break it open, a majority simply stop and walk past without even lifting a finger to help.
3) Rape? It's Your Fault Women
Created by All India Bak**od, the darkly satirical video featuring Kalki Koechlin and Juhi Pandey mocks the Indian mindset that blames women for provoking rape. In the 3.36 minutes clip, Kalki and Juhi are seen inside a studio, addressing the viewers directly, questioning their morality. Working late nights, Bollywood movies and chowmein are some of the ridiculous excuses listed as the reasons behind rape. At the end, the message, Stop Blaming The Victim flashes across the screen.
This ad campaign by actor Farhan Akhtar titled MARD -- Men Against Rape and Discrimination -- is an initiative designed to create awareness to instill gender equality and respect towards women. The video starts with a girl in a secluded bus stop with a stranger. Worried sick because she missed the last bus, the girl calls her mom to inform her about her plight. After the conversation is over, the stranger calls up his friend to come to the stop ASAP. You need to watch this video to believe what happens next.
5) Child Sex Abuse awareness social experiment
This experiment shows a girl breaking her silence in public against her abuser. Does anybody help? No! At the end of the video, the hidden crew comes out holding placards with strong messages written on it: Save innocence. Child Sex Abuse Exists and Face the Reality.
6) What will you do if you see a girl being harassed?
TV channel Bindass shows the grim reality of Indian society and how helpful they are when it comes to protection of women. In this video, a majority of people refuse to help the girls being stalked and harassed in public, while only a handful come to their rescue.
7) Start With The Boys
Managing Director of Condé Nast India, Alex Kuruvilla joined hands with director Vinil Mathew to produce this short film. The idea revolves around the fundamental truth that women's empowerment is not about women alone. The campaign advocates that if you want to make a change, start with the boys. Avoid saying things like 'Stop crying like a girl!' because 'boys don't cry'. If you do so, lessons of empathy are lost. Domestic violence is another issue which is highlighted in the video.
What's disturbing is that in the last 40 years, there's been an 875% rise of rape cases in the country, as per National Crime Records Bureau.
While there are people like Asha Mirje, a Nationalist Congress Party leader in Maharashtra who believes, 'rapes take place because of a woman's clothes, her behaviour and her presence at inappropriate places', there are men like Jitender Chhatar, a Khap Panchayat leader in Haryana who has the most bizarre explanation to rape. "To my understanding, consumption of fast food contributes to rapes. Chowmein leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an urge to indulge in such acts."We still have hopefuls like John Abraham who has joined hands with a popular radio station to highlight the pressing issues of acid attacks on women and safety in homes, offices, and public places. Bollywood diva Kareena Kapoor Khan has thrown her weight behind an emergency cellphone app for women's safety.
To campaign for women's safety, India is moving beyond the streets and towards social media, inching towards a better future, little by little. Do you agree?