$90%$ of women in India have experienced $sexual harassment$ at some point.

Sexual harassment is often called ‘eve teasing’ but is not at all as minor as the word ‘teasing’ suggests. It includes all offensive behaviour that women face like leering, whistling, sexual comments, kissing noises, vulgar gestures, touching, stalking, flashing, demanding sexual favours or showing pornography against one’s will.

So, what are we going to do about it?

Some people say, “She was asking for it.”

Programmes.
Our work on the ground.

To combat violence against women (VAW), in six Indian states, Breakthrough’s Preventing Violence: Change Starts Now (PVCSN) programme has worked with youth (15 to 35 years) as an indispensable partner, to lead actions against Sexual Harassment (SH). PVCSN’s aim is to create safer spaces for women both at home and in public spaces, generate greater institutional response and accountability, and to mobilize men and boys to say “NO” to Gender Based Violence. PVCSN’s overall goal is to ensure that women and girls access their rights and lives
life free of violence.

To this end, Breakthrough has been working on:

  1. Building curriculum and trainers who will catalyze leaders to transform gender norms and challenge violence against women for all our key constituencies.
  2. Using short-term digital and physical campaigns to engage our community – the Breakthrough Generation (the youth)– in actions and demands from the local to the global level.

Over the last three years, we have been building public dialogues and conversations using both digital and on‐ground mobilization. At the core of this mobilization is our new organizational strategy of creating a community of young catalysts the –‘Breakthrough Generation’ who led the change we envisioned. Youth groups in different intervention areas are leading short campaigns and supporting as volunteers in mobilization and campaigning.

Breakthrough launched three campaigns between 2015- 2016:

  • #AskingForIt: Pushing bystander intervention to make girls feel supported if they speak up against harassment.
  • #ShareYourStory: Inviting mothers to talk to their sons about harassment, open online discussion space, and signifying the role of parents.
  • #StandWithMe: Demonstrating how gender-inclusive safer-spaces can be created with key focus on educational institutions and online spaces.

The use of campaigns and its impact cannot be emphasized enough. It helped the programme reach enormous scale and in a language that is understood and appreciated by the digital world.

The focus on inter-generational dialogue in particular is an interesting example of overcoming issues of trust and discomfort that characterize parent-youth relationships in present times. The engagement with multi stakeholders ensured that our approach to the issue of SH was supported through strategic linkages with the police; protection officers; front line service providers; media professionals; public transport owners etc. In order to keep our youth constituency constantly engaged with us, we have carved out comprehensive models of engagement, both on-ground and online, and Breakthrough would support the initiatives and actions taken by them against GBV. Working with youth is now a core organizational strategy for Breakthrough and this has been integrated into all our other
programmes.

 

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