Know Our Team- Reflections
“I have been working with Safecity as their Youth Outreach Officer for over a year now. My work primarily involves engaging with the youth through different activities and encouraging them to rise in solidarity with us against the social evils existing in the society. In the last couple of months we have interacted with over 600 students through workshops, surveys, audits, awareness stalls. Here is an account of the same-
We had set up an awareness stall in Hansraj College as a part of their Internship Fair. We interacted with over 150 students out of which 50 students were keenly interested in learning more about our organisation’s work and wanted to register as volunteers. To find out what consent means to the youth, we undertook a survey and questioned 142 young individuals. Armed with a list of questions we targeted the youth of North Campus and Central Park (Connaught Place). One of the findings from the survey was that close to 90% of the respondents believed that it is really difficult for women and girls to come up and speak about the abuse and intimate partner violence that they go through, many a times, they are not even aware that the harassment they endure every day is actually a punishable offence. Post this survey, 70% of the respondents agreed on starting a conversation about ‘importance of consent’ in their peer groups, neighbourhood and family.
We commenced with our community intervention in Sanjay Basti, Timarpur as our targeted community area. So far we have conducted an orientation session and two rounds of audits there. We have interacted with 150 residents of the community and most of them were apprehensive about sharing their experiences of harassment with us. While many of the residents simply denied the occurrence of such incidents (out of fear of their neighbours and victim-blaming), some of them shared that domestic violence, eve-teasing and drug addiction was prevalent in this community. We also got to hear the powerful stories of young girls raising their voice against the abuse. One of the girls told us how she confronted a man in the bus who was inappropriately touching her and a group of school girls shared with us how they resorted to slapping and kicking at the time of dealing with eve-teasing right outside their school. Through this intervention, my team and I have realised how crucial it is to bring about a change in the mindsets of the people by educating them about their rights and encouraging them to support one another. Moreover, the need of the hour is for the institutions to work as they are supposed to work, for example, the police station close to the Sanjay Basti is highly non-co-operative and this wobbles the faith of the residents in the seeking justice.
We collaborated as the awareness partners at the annual fest of the Women Development Cell in Hansraj College. We had set up an awareness stall and also conducted a social experiment on gender wage pay gap. We interacted with over a 100 students. Some of them showed interest in volunteering with us. A group of students visited our stall and appreciated us for our workshop that we had conducted earlier this year. Setting up awareness stalls helps us in directly engaging with the students and initiating a conversation on topics that we usually don’t talk about.
Our most recent activities was a brainstorming session for the volunteers to design a campaign for different issues like equal access to public space, domestic violence, police non-cooperation and cyber crime against women. In addition to the ideation of the campaign, the volunteers engaged in a discussion to improvise on each other’s plans. Through this activity, we were able to start a conversation about these pertinent issues and brainstorm on solutions for the same.
This is the account of our work in Delhi in the past couple of months. We strongly believe in striking an empathetic chord with the people through our events and inspiring them to rise in solidarity with us in making every city, a safe city.”
This article was first published on Safecity, part of Safecity's team by Aarushee Shukhla. She is the Youth Outreach Officer at Safecity. Currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Economics from Hansraj college, University of Delhi, she is a feminist at heart taking small but strong steps to demolish the institution of patriarchy. She revels in debating on the concept of gender equality and women empowerment and aspires to strengthen the social fabric of society. Her associations with United Nations, Child Rights and You, Jagori have immensely helped her in building a pragmatic approach. Long distance cycling, swimming, learning new music instruments are her hobbies