Society

L’Oréal Paris launches its global campaign to train people against harassment in public spaces, in India

Aditi Rao Hydari   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

A survey conducted by L’Oréal Paris in 2019 about women’s issues showed that 78% of women have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces. Only 25% of the victims say they were helped. 86% of them do not know what to do when they witness it happening. 79% say it improved the situation when a witness intervened.

To bring about public awareness on this issue, the company launched a global anti-harassment campaign, Stand Up in March. The initiative was kickstarted in India on November 25 observed as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The campaign was launched by Pau Gruart, general manager, L’Oréal Paris, India, Sohini Bhattacharya, president and CEO, Breakthrough and brand ambassador and actor Aditi Rao Hydari.

“At the heart of this movement is the aim to address the basic question: What bothers women the most? And the most common answer to that was street harassment which was above domestic violence, equal pay and sexual violence,” said Pau at the virtual launch of the campaign.

The brand partnered with Ipsos, a market research company to conduct field research across Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the UK and the US. Over 15,500 people were interviewed for research. In India, the brand has collaborated with Breakthrough, an NGO that has been working for about two decades to formulate methods to fight street harassment.

People can receive training free of cost through a designated website, standup-india.com, which was launched on Wednesday. Through a series of questions and videos, the website tries to create awareness about what to do when you are being harassed or see it happening to someone else. “We will train people with the ‘5Ds method’ that includes distracting, delay, delegate, document and direct. It is a bystander intervention training programme devised to encourage the witnesses of harassment to take action to defuse situations and make public spaces safer,” said Sohini.

Speaking at the event, Aditi who underwent the 5Ds training programme said, “Distract and Delay methods worked very well with me as distract requires the creativity to interrupt an incident by asking the time or pretending to be lost. I found it to be effective and timely. I also like the concept of delay where you be a friend and comfort the harassed person after the incident and acknowledge that the behaviour was wrong. It is so important for the victim to know that they are not overreacting and what happened to them was wrong.”

The brand will soon start in-person training for the campaign for which they will send out fellowship forms through their social media handles. The candidates will be screened, interviewed and then trained through workshops. “These fellows will turn volunteers and create awareness in their cities. Our aim is to reach beyond metros and create awareness even in TIer- two cities,” added Sohini.

The goal is to train 1 million people in India in bystander intervention to tackle street harassment by 2022, she said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 7:50:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/loreal-launches-anti-harassment-campaign/article33191408.ece

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