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Video Explains What May Be Fun For Boys, Could Be Harassment For Girls

By Prachi Jatania

How do India’s youth feel about attraction and love – about wooing each other – about where the line is crossed between fun and harassment? From “kya item hain” to whistling and stalking, when are boys simply boys and girls not #AskingForIt. That was the thought that we at Breakthrough wanted to expose while filming this video “Boys Will Be Boys”.

Women and girls face sexual harassment on a daily basis especially in public spaces – while using transport, in market places, local neighbourhoods, even across online social platforms this is rampant. As part of our ongoing campaign #AskingForIt, using multimedia messages, we want to highlight the mindset and behaviour that is often looked at in a casual manner.

The video, through its ‘in-your-face’ content style touches upon the issue of how most young people across India are completely unaware of what constitutes sexual harassment. It is a fact that cat-calling, lewd comments, singing vulgar songs, even using social media to stalk another person are all ‘ILLEGAL’ acts, which means it is an offence to sexually harass, and I say this to reiterate the point that is often not evident to both young men and women. Another aspect we try to bring out is that the Film Industry has often perpetuated and encouraged harassment in varied forms in the garb of ‘wooing’ through many films and songs as you can see in the video. The thin line between what is ‘casual flirting’ and pursuing a girl to a clear case of stalking and harassing is more often than not blurred in our commercial films.

 

We urge all those reading this piece to share their thoughts on the video and our campaign and join in Breakthrough’s effort to address sexual harassment in public spaces. Log on to our Facebook page to comment and join in.

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  1. vaspri

    This video is offensive to me because it demonizes boys. However, in the spirit of freedom of speech and expression, you have every right to make it and post it on a public blog, if I get offended, it is my problem and not yours. I cannot use that to suppress your fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression. The question is whether you will afford that same right to those boys on the street, they are within their right to freely express themselves as long as they do not threaten or physically harm the girls in any way. Are they in any way less deserving of the same rights that you use to offend on line? The right to offend goes both ways, unfortunately.

  2. Dea

    I feel this video is one of the most accurate portrayals of the issue I’ve come across. Actually, I liked how the video does not “demonize” boys or show them as sub-intelligent, but blind to the consequences of their actions. The women were not placed on a pedestal, but are honest and open about how they consider these actions.

  3. Nisha

    This is a great campaign that genuinely does not victimize either side but literally places both opinions, of men and women in plain site. While some may not find it powerful enough because it doesn’t harp on the themes of consent and feminism, I think it is an apt position to take on a sensitive matter.
    It is a sensitive matter, not because the lines between right and wrong are blurred in this case, but simply because despite clearly understanding right from wrong we, as a nation have not been able to effect any change.

    This campaign is real, and might actually give some insight into tackling the issue. In terms of raising awareness amongst men who behave this way, and women who have now accepted this as the norm and might even play a part in perpetrating it, I’m not convinced that such subtle content will hit a nerve. In fact I’m worried it might only strengthen the acceptance of the norm further.

    So I guess the effectiveness of this campaign might depend on the audience you seek to reach out to.

  4. Sam

    First of all, this is not just happening in India. This is an universal problem faced by women all over world. We need to deeply analyse the situation here and find out the root cause for it. Whats the real reason behind this? Why only men feel like doing this? why they always take women for granted? is this the society that teaches us? is this something thats learnt or taught somewhere?

    Per my opinion, the real reason behind this is the sense of lack of fear. There are instances where even women harass men, reason same, lack of fear. Everything is taken for granted. What sort of fear is needed? fear of being ashamed! fear of being hurting others! I wouldn’t call it awareness because everyones aware. Everyones aware of everything. Only thing they would say ‘chalta hai’.

  5. Nandalal Sivadas

    I understand the whole issue of eve teasing and whatever repercussions that you are talking about. But, what about Adam teasing? Many years back, when I was just a teenager, I remember the day when a bunch of girls started passing comments on me when I was walking on the road alone. That’s was ok for me, I smile when I think about it. Then there was this day in college, a senior girl ragged me and included sexual abuse!! How about that? I was a very reserved kid back those days, was literally scared of the seniors dude!! But my question is, what’s up with all these posts popping up on my Facebook almost everyday? Girls, just relax. There are many untold stories!!

    This is an universal phenomena. Pick up a Hollywood movie, you will get to see many scenes where guys passing comments on girls and the other way around. How about our bollywood? Why are there item songs were the actress “dance” ?And mostly the camera will be running all over her body?! What’s the deal people? This is prevalent in Bollywood, Tamil, Telugu or many other regional movie industries. Why? Why the lady’s body is in focus? Interestingly, whoever is posting such posts are ok to watch these movies. Irony.

  6. Shreyash Lal

    What if a girl stalks me? What if she calls me everyday although I tell her not to? These things r bullshit… Only girls hv the right to cry over it… Nd they make unwanted fuss… Nd just because m a boy… I dnt hv the ryt to stop a girl who has been stalking me fr 6 months nd calls me daily at the middle of the nyt frm different nos.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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