On again, off again

Within months of their initiation, anti-sexual harassment campaigns organised by students tend to fizzle out due to exams and lack of support, reports Sneha Mahale.

mumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2012 13:02 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times

They start with a bang and are hugely popular online and offline. Many student campaigns revolving around sexual harassment and molestation on the streets were launched over the last six months. But unfortunately, all of them are slowly fading away. Exams, lack of support from authorities and too much extra-curricular work are some of the reasons used to explain why they lost steam within a few months of their beginning.

Take for instance the Chhedega Toh Chodenge Nahi drive. This initiative started by Rotaract Clubs of HR College, Churchgate, and Mumbai Mulund South kicked off on December 22, 2011 with a street play at Dadar Station and one in the ladies’ compartment of local trains. It received an enthusiastic response and round two was organised on March 20 at CST. Dinesh Sajnani, project head, Rotaract Club of HR College and a S.Y.B.Com student, says, “This time, we had around 200 to 300 people watching each of the three skits we performed.” But ask him if a third round is in the pipeline and he isn’t sure: “We may not get the permissions. It is becoming difficult for us to approach the authorities now.”

Marissa Pinto, who is a T.Y.B.M.M student in St Andrew’s College, Bandra, was one of the founders of the Cut It Out initiative that started in September 2011. This campaign is no longer active. “We are third year students and have exams. This started as a college project, but it became personal. We may restart in the distant future,” she says. Exams and lack of resources also forced the organisers of the popular Chappal Marungi campaign to take a back seat. They then approached NGOs asking them to take over, but Alisha Sharma, one of the student-founders of the campaign says, “We haven’t heard from anyone yet.”

Started around the same time as Chappal Marungi, another SMS campaign by Freeze The Tease offered subscribers tips on how to deal with offenders. Although their Facebook page is still active, the last update was made around Holi, offering safety tips on this “vulnerable day for women”.

First Published: Mar 22, 2012 13:01 IST