26 women’s groups take part in the ‘One Billion Rising Campaign’ against gender violence
For a change, it was not pink or red, but purple, that dominated Necklace Road on Valentines Day. For a change, it was not the love birds on joy rides, or Bajrang Dal ‘match-makers’ on the prowl, who gathered eyeballs . Stealing the show was the march-cum-public meeting protesting violence against women.
Organised by 26 women’s groups, the march from Jalvihar up to People’s Plaza was part of the worldwide ‘One Billion Rising Campaign’, initiated by American feminist-writer Eve Ensler through the organisation V-Day, which turned 15 on Thursday.
Throughout the march, slogans were raised against violence and for gender freedom. ‘One Billion Rising’ was the recurring battle cry in defiance of the restrictions and violence imposed on women. The marchers shouted for freedom from the control of fathers and brothers, sexual violence and other atrocities, freedom to pursue studies, to play, dance and sing.
About 1000 people, most of them women, participated in the march, joined by more at People’s Plaza. A festive atmosphere marked the meeting, with children and youngsters swaying and dancing with gay abandon to the cultural performances. It brought together women from across the spectrum, and included quite a few transgender activists too.
Justice for Sneha
Much poignant was the participation by a Marwari family which recently lost a member allegedly due to marital harassment. Displaying the victim Sneha Barola’s picture in her bridal attire, the family sought speedy justice for her. She reportedly committed suicide by jumping into the Hussainsagar on Sunday.
A billion sufferers
Explaining the significance of the campaign, feminist-activist Vasanth Kannabiran said one billion women worldwide are being subject to violence every day. One in every three women is forced to bear some kind of atrocity.
“There are two kinds of violence — physical and psychological. The latter is enforced through words and glances. We are habituated to justifying such violence in the name of culture and nature. We should question every small infringement and strive to mould the law in our favour,” Ms. Kannabiran urged the women.
Telangana freedom fighter Mallu Swarajyam attended the event on behalf of AIDWA, and said the organisation is striving towards forming women’s brigades against sexual violence in villages.
K. Satyavathi from Bhumika Collective said the day would henceforth be celebrated annually as ‘One Billion Rising Day’.
A similar event organised in Kuntlur village of Hayatnagar mandal saw participation from nearly 2,500 men and women who pledged to fight gender discrimination and violence, Ranga Reddy district officials informed. It had participation from Rural Development and MGNREGS officials apart from the District Collector.