Her Story: Experience sharing Program on Gender Based Violence
To celebrate 16 days of Activism against Gender based Violence, on 7th of December 2019, I organized a program “Her Story: Experience sharing Program on Gender Based Violence ‘collaborating with my two organizations. Both Men and women were invited to share their stories.
The major aim of the program was to lessen the pain, guilt and shame which comes from such experiences.
Female representative of local governance was invited as a speaker to share her story.
On the first phase we discussed about the history of 16 days long activism and introduced the topic to the participants. We also discussed about the forms and dimensions of the gender based violence.
In the Second phase, female representative of local governance, shared how differently male and female representatives are treated. Public trust male officers but doubt the ability of a female officer.
The participants who were comfortable shared their experiences on GBV on their own. “My father was working out of the town, when we first moved to the capital, Kathmandu. We bought a piece of land in the capital. The property owner somehow deceived us and destroyed all the documents. One night he came to our home with a long knife. We were so terrorized, my mother was all alone with two children. I was traumatized for a long time because of this incident.”
Shared one of the participants sobbing.
Those who were not comfortable enough to share their stories, wrote anonymously. The stories were later distributed to some other participants to recite.
“After I joined my college, I found I could relate to a group of male classmates. I would hang out with them. One day the Director of my college, saw me hanging out with a group of guys outside a cafe. Later, he called me privately and brought up the fact that I being a girl was hanging out with guys. He ashamed me, he questioned my character and also asked me if smoked cigarettes/ weed. After that I was judged, constantly being watched upon. It disturbed me in both mental and emotional ways. It took me a long time to get over of it.”
Another story read, “I had a really good guy friend. We would live in the same community. One day we were in his home, he sexually harassed me. Somehow I was able to save myself from him that day.
But I couldn’t share that incident to anyone not even with my best friend. I always felt fearful and insecure in the school.”
One guy shared a story he knew. A school girl belonging to Muslim Community had gone to school to get admission but the principal of the school denied her admission because she was wearing a Hijab. This issue became viral in social Medias and she later got the admission.
When I was in the school my teacher knowingly and intentionally hit on my back and pulled my bra strap from the back. My internal marks were deducted solely because I used to hang out with m male class mates in my college. Shared one of the participants.
We discussed about legal remedies of these sort of violence.
I also shared a story of GBV I recently faced. A guy came in my work place seeking a legal service from me. He passed a comment based on my gender saying that I was too young for the work.
We discussed about diverse areas of this topic. Work place harassments, wage gap, banishment during
Menstruation and other forms of stereotyping prevalent in Nepalese society.
“I came to know about the mistakes that I made in my past. I have realized the violence I was normalizing. I am surely going to prevent myself from doing such thing in my near future.”
One of the guy shared a beautiful realization. It made me extremely happy.
People were happy to know new things, happy to share experiences they had been holding from a long time ago. This was a successful program. But this is not the end. I will always be there with those who are impacted by GBV in all the ways I can. I was able to organize this program with many supporting hands likewise we can change the world together.