On the 23rd and 24th of January 2017, MAVA (Men Against Violence and Abuse) organized a two-day cultural program which consisted of events like street play, short film, group singing and public speaking competition under the umbrella of Yuva Abhivyakti 2017. The competition was based on the theme “sexual harassment at workplace” where all the students from participating colleges enlightened the guidance about their opinions on the same in Hindi and Marathi. The event was witnessed by 150-200 youths and was judged by extremely talented professionals in the development sector.
Students focused on the agenda of “speak up” targeted to women facing sexual harassment in their lives. They also highlighted the various places where woman are sexually harassed – schools, offices, bus stand, houses, pvt. sector industry like airlines, etc. They encouraged the victims and the audience to protest against the same and threw light on how women are perceived in particular in the country. Participating College teams had researched about the various laws and provisions available to eliminate such practices and fight against them. Some of them were section 66A, 509, 354, 338, etc. They had distinguishing dress codes as representation of their teams and they were given a college code for a systematic unbiased sequence. Different slogans were used to enlighten the crowd in an entertaining and simultaneously thought-provoking manner. Code no RJ 254 mentioned the dialogue ‘Aurato ka kaam sirf itna hai ki kurte ki collar gandi na ho aur tawe ki roti thandi na ho’ to showcase the light that women are perceived in. Teams also used musical parody’s to prevent their thoughts like sadda haq, womaniya and used humorous one liners like ‘Ude na ude airlines’. They brought ideas like ‘A women can’t boss upon men’ is the general understanding and acceptance of the society.
MAVA’s youth team also performed their play ‘Uski Ghutan’, where the audience were entertained and educated simultaneously with the use of music as well as humor. They highlighted the idea that women aren’t safe anywhere. They also informed the audience about the latest law that deals with the harassment at workplace, presence of internal committees and women development cell in colleges. The event was successfully held with LIC and Saraswat Bank as their sponsors.
The plays performed by around 13 groups got the viewpoints and the ideologies of the youth participants and witnessing their performance was a delight. One strong message that the program also gave was that there was a major difference between ‘rape’ and ‘sexual harassment’. People tend to often mix the two of them. Sexual harassment is the initial stage of rape. Another important and valuable lesson learnt from the program was that for a person who is a victim of sexual harassment speaking up about the entire situation and letting people know about it is important. Just simply keeping quiet and not doing anything about it will encourage such cases even more. So don’t keep shut and talk to somebody about it. Be a Victor and not a Victim.
- Komal Agrawal, Bhavini Bhanushali, Jay Vasani and Pranita Bajoria,
Students of Mass Media, Mithibai College