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“Jo Mera Hai Wo Mera Hai”: My Body. My Rights

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As a woman, you have to fight the eyes of an ogler, the touch of a groper and fight the reflection of yourself which is left behind. Every day is a struggle for safety and every one of us, male or female is a part of this struggle.

The Education Tree, a youth led organization working in the field of arts in education believes that it is the education pertaining to the respect for women which is the most important. Their campaign, ‘Jo Mera Hai Wo Mera Hai. My Body. My Rights’ is a crusade against the exploitation and violence perpetrated against women. With the help of unique art forms like freeze mobs, flash mobs, graffiti, they intend to spread awareness about the help lines, women’s organizations, NGO’s and general precautions to help and relieve women in distress.

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The Education Tree team has already conducted almost a hundred flash mobs in Delhi at places like North Campus, Satya Niketan Market, Kamla Nagar and Delhi Haat. Their ‘Mega Freeze Mob‘ at DLF Saket was a thundering success and struck a chord with people of all ages alike.

This campaign provides a platform to people from all walks of life to contribute to the change and not just talk tall of the way things are and the way they should be.

After all, when things go awry with one woman in the society, it becomes a battle for all others for the safety of their own self, their daughters, sisters and mothers, girlfriends or wives.

As she lay on the road, stripped of her clothes, wounded and bleeding to death, they passed…
This was the tragic story of the gangrape victim in Delhi and her end was no less than the defeat of the entire nation. But let this not be the story of another girl.

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  1. AS

    Some times, after reading this hue and cry, larger-than-life issue of women safety, I get annoyed. Not that I’m denying that the women in India are secure and that we Indian men need to learn to respect the women much more. But the very fact that slogans like ‘My body, my right’ and ‘Don’t teach me what to wear, teach your son not to rape’ are really annoying. Are you saying that wearing anything anywhere is justified? Do you imply to say that the clothes one wears should be one’s own choice with no conditions whatsoever laid down by the society? I beg to differ on that point. Talking about this world, nobody is independent of the society. There is no need to be anti-establishment on every issue at all times. If I start shouting in a temple or a mosque while everybody else is praying, will you not ask me to shut up? And if you do so, will you be breaching on my freedom to speech? No, because it’s a matter of etiquette and not law. Inequalities and differences exist in every sphere of life, and we agree or disagree with them based on our choice. Nobody raises a question when there are different washrooms for males and females, but everyone has a problem with different classrooms. We need to be sensitive to the sentiments of the society as well while making our lifestyle choices.

    That said, I just want to clarify that I am no ways supporting incidents like the ones stated in the article above. I condemn those incidents and understand that society also needs to raise its tolerance levels to accommodate divergent thoughts of people. But what is the society. It’s you and me.

  2. Harish

    This crappy radical f******t idea of “‘Don’t teach me what to wear, teach your son not to rape’” is downright disgusting. Would you say this kind of crap to Indian Muslims ” Don’t support terrorism, write it down 100 times daily so that you don’t forget” . Yeah that should remind the Indian Muslims not to “accidentally” support terrorism.

    And speaking of my body, my rights, how come I don’t get to slap when I am groped in a bus? (by men or women, accidentally or on purpose, doesn’t matter)

  3. sachin kumar

    and if a woman ogle a man then what shd b done do u think only men stare at women ,women also stare ,sometime to that extent that they ll eat u ,when dey even bumps u deliberately it is charity n if u collide mistakenly u r a molester ………………n who said wearing provocative dress is not against d law ,read sec 292 of ipc it works against vulgarity ,even u r not allowed to remain naked at ur home if some person sees u in this position he has right to lodge a complaint against u. u r not free to walk naked on d road ,its loose indian law enforcer otherwise bikini clad babes shd b behind d bars………………..

  4. sachin kumar

    i dont think what these women think of demselves ,not more dan 10% deserve a look,who is free to see dem ,every body has got more important work dan to watch dem meaninglessly dey have illusion about demselves…………….they r not so important dat people ll go on watching dem………..ya a few women r extraordinary so it can b said ur gaze might b fixed on dem for a while ,its natural n impartial………………

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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