The questions jolted you out of your comfort zone and the facts were extremely thought-provoking. However, that is not all what we observed at Asianet Newsable’s workshop with the members from Durga. We learnt how easy it was to say ‘Harassment is someone else’s problem’ and how difficult it was ‘to intervene and help a victim and stop being a bystander’.
Before we take you down that road, here’s a small introduction to Durga. Durga is really for any woman or girl who feels that she is in control of her safety and wants to be empowered enough to address it in her own way.
What’s a Durga?
This is what Durga aims to equip women with: Being aware and prepared and therefore be an active bystander. Every woman must be able to be her own Policewoman. Look after someone with her and if need replicate herself in tense situations of harassment, assault or any such activity which can blow out of proportion. She should also be able to reach out to an ecosystem of men and women to help her in her cause.
5 Durga Habits
- Safety First Always
- Awareness Always – Always understand and be aware of the scene you are about to enter, alone or with friends – day or night. Be vigilant
- Believe in your guts – Use your women intuition correctly
- Engage, and escalate if required
- Durga is not here to teach lessons but to empower women to write their own stories of strength
Immediately into our discussion, the topic of sexual harassment came up and finding a definition for it became an eye-opener. Anything that a man or a woman says that makes you uncomfortable, physically, mentally, and even spatially can be seen as harassment. Anything that is done or affects you or your body without your consent can also be counted in this category.
The next area of the discussion spread to what would do in a situation where sexual harassment is happening. How would you counter it? Our answers revealed how most of us were hesitant to step up and do something about, all we did was sit in our chairs and ask ‘ but what if I am harmed in the process of helping?’
Here’s the answer to that question. Something we as a society need to tell ourselves, rather imbibe so that we become more active bystanders rather than part of the silent mob that gathers to see the drama and walk away shaking our heads.
Durga uses Theatre as a forum to take issues to the community that it faces and asks them to help resolve it. It is a potent tool which society or the individual in the scenario and asks them to find a solution to that particular situation.
By the end of our discussion the following are some of the points that came out to help understand how a person can actually intervene without asking ‘What if I actually get hurt in the process?’
- Speak to the potential victim
- Ask people to join in – grab the attention of the bystander
- Confront the perpetrator
-Make a noise
- Distract and take away the girl creating the assumption of being a friend
Asianet Newsable supported by Facebook and the Namma Bengaluru Foundation, aims to encourage this coming together – of citizens towards the cause of protecting women.The Pink Samaritan app uses technology and community ecosystems to unite citizens under the singular agenda around women’s safety.