Gender violence is a very pressing issue that Prajnya seeks to address through their campaign.

‘Gender violence has come down to a large extent over the years' – is a mythical statement. It is an issue that needs a great deal of attention even more now. Why so? There is whopping 733.8 per cent increase in the number of rape cases in the last 30 years in India alone according to the National Crime Record Bureau.

This is just one form of violence. May it be a girl child or a working woman, no one is spared. Facts like this need to be brought out in the open for us to realise that violence against women has to be dealt with before it is too late.

Campaign against violence

Keeping this in mind, Prajnya, an NGO based out of Chennai, has put together an exhaustive 16 Days Campaign Against Gender Violence. “The main aim of this campaign is to answer this – Is Gender violence really a problem?” says Swarna Rajagopalan, member of the Board of Trustees, Prajnya.

“We started planning the campaign in August this year. We carefully picked out the issues to be covered in this year's campaign so that people are informed that gender violence still is a major concern” Anupama Srinivasan, Campaign Co-ordinator, says. The main challenge faced while constructing this campaign was to identify its target audience. The NGO is focusing on diverse groups such as students of nursing, psychology, social work, victims, perpetrators, by-standers and finally the general public. “We want to reach as many as possible and articulate responses between different communities”, says Anupama.

The main intention of having the campaign for 16 days is firstly, to get the people constantly thinking about the issue for that period and not judge perpetrators or give solutions to victims. “There is no black and white. This is a grey area that needs to be taken care of”, says Anupama. Secondly, each day is dedicated to one form of violence i.e. 16 forms of gender-based violence identified by the UN. The campaign is packed with sessions and events such as workshops and symposiums. Some of the programmes scheduled are closed for specific groups such as SHG representatives, mental health professionals and so on.

Many faces

“Gender violence has definitely not come down. In fact, there are new forms that have emerged through the years,” says Anupama with concern. Gender violence may it be verbal, physical or mental, is a punishable crime. Problems that women face today follow the phrase – ‘Personal is Political'. Therefore it is necessary for us, as citizens of this country to stop the atrocities that women and children face due to any form of violence. A campaign like this in my opinion is needed for every society to bring into light the “not so scary” facts of gender-based violence.

For more information on the schedule visit: www.prajnya.in/16days.htm or e-mail to prajnya.16days@gmail.com

Smriti is a Ist Year student of MS Communication Studies at Christ University, Bangalore.

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